Home / BLOG / Security Journal

A Guide to Security Seal Regulation and Standards

Keeping your cargo secure is one of the main concerns for a business transporting goods, especially when exporting overseas. However, knowing the exact seal to buy can be a challenge for the inexperienced shipper. In order to make the right choice in the best interest of your business, it is important to know what security seal is the appropriate one for your products. This guide aims to simplify the regulatory standards on security seals and how they may apply differently to certain goods and industries.

Security Seal Standards

There are a number of different security seal accreditation’s depending on the country of origin, and this can often lead to confusing interpretation for acceptable seal standards during import and export. The main categories of standardised seal accreditation is ISO-7001, highlighted in detail below:

  • ISO-17712: The ISO-17712 sets the kinds of seals that are on the market for use in various industries, outlining 3 different categories of seals: indicative, security, and high security. These standards are backed by a strength test and functional analysis in order to label a security seal as one of these three categories. Seals in the categories of “Security” or “Indicative” seals are seldom submitted for formal certification since it would only confirm something already known…that they don’t pass the strength tests for “high security” seals according to ISO-17712. There is no existing standardized testing to verify the performance or security capability of seals. Only tests for strength and resistance to forced opening are employed. 

But beyond ISO standard categorisation, the ISO standards also outline principles for security seal manufacturers, including clauses on inspection and quality control, among many other topics. Any quality security seal should come from a company that is compliant with the clauses. These standards can include some of the following clauses:

  • C-TPAT: The US Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary alliance of shippers that agree to work with the US customers office to develop important cargo security standards. There are guidelines set for C-TPAT partnership shippers, including using a tamper-evident seal that meets the high security standards of the ISO. These standards primarily apply to truck trailers and inter-modal containers but can apply to all shipments as well.
  • ISMA: The International Seal Manufacturers Association (ISMA) is a security seals industry group dedicated to developing standards and practices to ensure seal owners can trust and rely on their security products. Companies wishing to join must meet certain standards as laid out by ISMA. All ISMA members are certified by ISO security seal standards as well as the ISO compliance standards.

These regulations above are the most essential standards to be familiar with, whether it’s as a security seal seller or buyer. In order to effectively secure your cargo, use seals from a supplier who is both competent and compliant with these seals regulations. The global cargo security seals market is expected to grow on the backdrop of the growth of the shipping industry. Growth in global trade is expected to be a key factor driving the global cargo security seals market. This means that the infrastructure and scrutiny on meeting seal regulation will only increase to ensure cargo is safe and secure when transported across the world.

HMRC Bolt Seals for High Security

In order to make a well-informed decision in the best interest of your business, it’s important to know what makes a high-quality security seal. Our HMRC Bolt Seals, Fork Seals, Guardlock Seals and Cable Seals are all manufactured in direct alignment with the highest security standard regulation that there currently is. As discussed above, ISO-17712 is the highest form of standardised accreditation for security seals and in order to obtain custom clearance and indicate secure cargo, a good understanding of this is key to protecting your business interests and preventing delays at shipping ports.

ISO PAS 17712 Standards
One of the first things you need to know about high security bolt seals is that they need to meet the classification criteria laid out by the ISO PAS 17712 standards. Seals that meet these standards are legally classified, under the authority of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), as seals that have met or surpassed the regulations laid out by these standards. This distinction means that your seals are high-quality and high-security, ensuring your business with more reliability and protection at the highest international standard.

Besides the whole “highest international standard” qualification, there’s another major reason to learn about high-security seals: if you plan on shipping internationally, all containers are required to be sealed with high security seals that meet the ISO PAS 17712 standards. Seals that can be easily identified as high-security will be approved quicker and shipped to it’s destination without significant delays.

Meeting ISO-17712 Standards
In order to meet the standard for a high security seal, a thorough testing process must take place. The first test determines the physical strength of the seal, while the second determines the tamper-evidence. The former ensures the seal is reliable, durable, and strong, while the latter requires seals to show any indication of tampering. These two tests combined form the requirements that need to be met in order for a bolt seal to be classified as a high security seal. This testing is done very thoroughly and accurately to ensure that each seal rightfully earns its ISO distinction. Following the tests, the seal can be marked with a capital H to indicate that it is indeed a high security seal fit for international security standards.

Understanding how to properly protect and secure your cargo is key for any business planning on shipping large cargo nationally or internationally. Investing in high security seals, even when not required, can potentially save your business a lot of headaches and give you some peace of mind knowing your cargo is secured during transit. You can learn more about the full regulation of ISO-17712 by clicking here.

About JW Products

JW Products manufacture security seals and clinical waste ties from our purpose built factory in St Helens, producing high-quality, fully customisable security seals, including bolt seals, container seals, and trailer seals, across a wide range of industries. Through investment in both innovative manufacturing and quality customer service, JW has been producing high-quality seals for over 20 years. The company conforms to the highest standards of ISO-9001:2015 and supplies both public and private sectors, including the NHS and Greater Manchester Police.

Get discount prices and more.

Subscribe to our mailing list for better rates and offers