Central Examination Station: What is a CES?

A Central Examination Station (CES) is an inspection hub used by freight forwarders and customs brokers to streamline and expedite the arduous task of importing cargo freight and containers shipped into the United States from overseas. Many logistical considerations are crucial when importing cargo freight. One of the most important aspects of importing freight is ensuring that incoming container freight is compliant with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) regulations. Incoming freight & cargo containers imported from outside the US into Texas are subject to federal inspections by several government organizations depending that vary depending on the type  of goods within the imported containers.

 US Government Inspections & Participating Organizations

Freight cargo from overseas is required to pass inspection and be deemed eligible and fit to cross into the United States by: Customs, Immigration, Animal and Plant Health Inspections and the U.S. Border Patrol.

All of these government organizations are unified under U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of inspecting and certifying incoming freight from foreign countries. That’s where Central Examination Stations comes into play, streamlining the arduous process and expediting container freight inspections.

Centralized Examination Stations have designated warehousing operations with lifting and loading personnel and equipment to handle import cargo loading and unloading of freight containers under supervision of U.S. Government officials. Qualifying to become a designated CES requires strict compliance with set guidelines regarding operational facilities, personnel and security.

Additionally, U.S. Customs & Border Patrol has extremely strict protocol concerning minimum bond amounts and insurance the CES must cover. These bonds and insurance policies protect the importer and U.S. Taxpayers should the warehouse default on government regulation compliance.

Since a CES is a government-regulated facility, its rates and hours of operation must also be approved. Having a CES license does not guarantee the warehouse automatic license re-approval renewal. An application to renew a Central Examination Station license from the U.S Government must be submitted for re-approved every 3 years and is subject to thorough facility and internal audits each time.

 Understanding Different Types of Freight Exams & Inspections

If one’s cargo freight has been chosen for an examination or inspection, determining which type of exam the imported goods are subject to is essential. The following are types of exams and inspections your cargo or freight may be subject to:C

  • CET Exam: Security and Contraband
  • Trade Exams: Duty, Product compliance, Copyright, USDA, FDA, F&W
  • VACIS: Vehicle & Cargo Inspections: CBP views sealed containers using 3D imaging

About World Trade Distribution’s Central Examination Station

World Trade Distribution has one of the largest and oldest import cargo warehouses and inspection facilities cleared by Customs & Border Patrol as a Central Examination Station. World Trade Distribution, Inc. has worked cohesively with U.S. Customs and the Border Patrol facilitating import exam services for over 32 years. World Trade Distribution’s teams are experts in customs clearance, compliance and documentation.

World Trade can help with all import freight & container exams in the Houston area. The most common exams needed when importing containers and cargo freight into the United States are:

  • CET Exam Services
  • Trade Exam Services
  • Trucking: Local drayage and/or delivery
  • Country of Origin Markings: Import compliance
  • Wood Remediation: Import compliance
  • Fumigation Services: for both LCL and FCL cargoes

 Additional Cargo Inspection Equipment & Services

On-site container inspectors and VACIS imaging allows C.E.S. customers the utmost convenience.  Combining U.S. Customs and Government agency inspectors with K-9 units and mobile VACIS, World Trade Distribution supplies the complex needs of the gulf coast’s import community with the most comprehensive customs exam services and quick turn-around times.

The on-site Houston based exam station at World Trade Distribution provides the fastest, most affordable container freight services in the Texas Gulf Coast and south Texas regions. World Trade Distribution, Inc. has unsurpassed experience in import services and highly competitive container freight management rates in Texas.

What If an Issue Arises During an Exam?

If an issue arises upon inspection, CBP officers will contact the broker directly. Once the exact nature of the issue is established with CBP, the freight service can discuss options to fix the violation with the C.E.S. manager. World Trade Distribution’s expert staff will work on resolving these issues in the most economical and efficient manner.

As a C.E.S. operator, World Trade Distribution is responsible for notifying CBP or the relevant agency of the availability of cargo for inspection. CBP will designate the type of exam to perform and how much of the cargo to examine. World Trade Distribution is now responsible for ensuring the examination is done timely, safely, and with no damage to the cargo.

Contact Customs & Border Patrol at World Trade Distribution CES


(713) 672-6866

(713) 672-6876


(713) 672-7320

Tour World Trade Distribution, Inc. Central Examination Station

If you would like to tour the World Trade C.E.S. facility, please arrange with CES management by calling (713) 672-7295 or filling out our online contact form.  We invite any prospective freight forwarders or customs brokers who need our container freight management services to schedule a tour and get to know about our company and our state-of-the-art facility and equipment.  We maintain an open line of communication with the trade community and our Central Examination Station operators.


If We Can’t Containerize It, It Can’t Be Containerized

Our skill and experience means we can handle any challenge – Even yours.


in-house fork lifting capacity


square feet of warehousing


loading docs, pickups & deliveries

12 acre

concrete storage yard


tazer fence