Home » How to become a TSA Known Shipper in the US

How to become a TSA Known Shipper in the US

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Blog Post

Navigating the TSA Known Shipper Program can be a bit of a mystery, but it’s essential for businesses that need to ship cargo quickly and efficiently. As a leading transportation and logistics provider, we can help you in submitting the application and gaining approval by TSA to become a Known Shipper so you can reap the benefits.

What is a TSA Known Shipper?

A TSA Known Shipper is a program that has been evaluated and vetted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It signifies that the shipper is a trusted entity for securely transporting goods using both passenger and cargo aircraft. TSA will assess and approve qualified shippers to uplift their cargo on passenger aircraft through the Known Shipper Management System (KSMS), expanding shipping options and reducing transit time. Once the shipper is granted TSA Known Shipper status, they must fully follow the TSA Known Shipper requirements to avoid having their status revoked.

What is an Unknown Shipper?

If you’re an Unknown Shipper, meaning that you lack approval by TSA under the KSMS, you’ll be restricted to transport your shipment solely via cargo aircraft. Therefore, the Unknown shipper will have very limited flight options to choose from.

Benefits of becoming a TSA Known Shipper

Known Shippers benefit from the flexibility of shipping via both cargo and passenger flights, providing an array of flight options and streamlined transit times. For example, a Known Shipper sending a shipment to Singapore can choose daily passenger flights like SQ daily for faster transit, minimizing the risk of loss or damage. On the other hand, Unknown Shippers, restricted to cargo aircraft, may encounter less direct services, leading to potential delays and increased costs.

How to become a TSA Known Shipper?

Becoming a TSA Known Shipper involves your freight forwarder submitting an online application through the KSMS on your behalf, which TSA will then review. The application process can be time-consuming, as the approval timeline is uncertain. Typically, it requires submitting various details such as your legal business name, physical address, and a designated contact person. Upon approval, a unique Known Shipper ID number is assigned, and it’s crucial not to share this ID with any other shipper.

How long does the process take and what are the common challenges in the application process?

The TSA Known Shipper application process can only be based on TSA’s decision. However, there could be several factors that can affect the length of approval:

  • The track record of your shipping activities.
  • The type of cargo you import and export.
  • The countries you engage with in import and export operations.
  • The precision and completeness of the information provided in your application.

What if my application gets denied?

In the event of a denied application, TSA may cite various reasons ranging from incomplete documentation to security concerns. If your application faces rejection, Dimerco is ready to assist you in navigating the appeals process. Our team will work diligently to address any issues identified in your initial application. We can submit the appeal to TSA to see if TSA can re-consider your application and approve it.

For example:

  • If your company has been merged with another business.
  • Your physical address does not match with your registered business entity.
  • You have a history of violations with USCBP (US Customs and Border Protection).

How to maintain Known Shipper Status?

TSA Known Shipper Status could be revoked at any time, however, in order to maintain your status, the shipper is required to have an ongoing commitment and adhere to TSA security requirements. Periodic audits of your status may be conducted by TSA to ensure that you are complying with TSA regulations. Since Dimerco will receive the updated regulations from TSA, we can always make sure that the shipper is following and complying with the requirements.

Ready to ship smarter?

Have we answered your questions on how to become a TSA Known Shipper? If not, feel free to reach out to one of our air freight shipping specialists. Contact us today to pursue TSA Known Shipper status and enjoy a more streamlined and secure shipping process tailored to your business needs.