International Carrier Bond

An International Carrier Bond (ICB) can be arranged by SIGCo for their members, who can use our online form or download the application form.

In March 2004, the US Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) issued a directive as part of the Automated Manifest System (AMS) new rules. Under this directive, amongst other things, "carriers" are required to have in place an International Carrier Bond prior to entering the US to load or discharge cargo. The Bond is to secure payment of any fines, duty, taxes or other dues levied by Customs Authorities.

Note that a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) is also required for AMS bonds in the same name as the bond carrier. Members should obtain this SCAC code from the US National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) prior to applying for an AMS bond. Bond applicants can arrange a SCAC code online at the following web address:

More recently, the CBP issued a further directive outlining the requirements of vessel operators to file crew and passenger manifests via the Automated Passenger Information System (APIS). Under this requirement each relevant vessel is required to file an ICB prior to arrival in the USA.

The ICB arranged by SIGCo will cover both AMS and APIS bond requirements.


SIGCo charges a fee of $1,750 for arrangement of an ICB for a $100,000 bond. The fee for a different level of bond can be established by contacting our underwriters. A $50,000 bond can be arranged, for a bond fee of $1,000, but we do not recommend this as few US ports will accept a bond of this size. Please note that a $100,000 bond will be sufficient for most ports, although Miami requires a $150,000 bond, which we will arrange for $2,500.

Members uncertain about the bond limit they require should contact the port to clarify. The bond fee includes the premium to be passed on to the Bond Issuer, a small amount for the risk SIGCo assumes in its capacity within the transaction, and a service fee for the administration involved analogous in terms and amount to that charged for issuance of a COFR guaranty on a service-fee basis.

Where a bond is required at short notice, given the potential time it takes for processing by CBP, we can arrange a single-entry bond within 24 hours. There will be a separate charge for the single-entry bond and it will only be able to be used at the first port visited by the vessel. Therefore, where a vessel is anticipated to make multiple US calls, we recommend that the member continue with the continuous bond application.

Contract terms:

Terms underlying the contract between SIGCo and the member can be found in the ICB System Standard Terms & Conditions.

Documentation required:

In addition to the application form, SIGCo will require a completed ICB Procurement Agreement and a Power of Attorney. The latter allows SIGCo to sign the application on behalf of the member, which speeds up the application process and minimises paper flow between the various parties. Please note that where the Carrier name required on the bond is different from the vessels COFR operator name, we will request a copy of the P&I certificate to ensure that both COFR operator and bond Carrier are joint assureds under the same P&I policy.

Processing time:

We aim to process and forward a properly completed ICB application within 24 hours of receipt. Please note, however, that the application documents should be given to SIGCo already completed ahead of entry to the US, to allow time for CBP to process the bond. CBP will usually process the application within a week, but note that it can take as long as three weeks.

Non-members ICB applications:

SIGCo can arrange a bond for shipowners who are not currently SIGCo members. Where an application is made in a Carrier Name that is not a joint member on a full P&I policy with an existing COFR operator/member, SIGCo may still process the application at a slightly increase bond fee and subject to SIGCo’s acceptance of the primary P&I insurance carried by the ICB applicant. Contact us for more details.