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Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

On April 16, 2002, the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program known as the C TPAT program was launched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The main goal of the C TPAT Certification program is to look after the import supply chain from terrorists that would smuggle for devastation.

Since the program was launched, we can notice the changes. Many companies nowadays require C TPAT membership from their suppliers and eligible companies and companies that are required to be C TPAT compliant to join the program are preparing the same security profiles as their customers.

The C TPAT Security Profile is an draft of policies, company procedures and controls, choice of import supply chain business partners, hiring practices, information technology, physical security and they function as an application to the C TPAT program. This is required to have C TPAT Certification.

Those who apply for the C TPAT program, have to complete paperwork with customized security questionnaires and then direct it to their import supply-chain business partners, like foreign manufacturers or suppliers, transportation service providers, custom brokers and more, for review and recommendation if appropriate. A C TPAT consultant will then visit the domestic facilities and make an assessment, record the policies, procedures and controls that need to be acted upon.

The consultant can also update the C TPAT Security Profile, do the annual assessment and validation phase, and prepare the clients for validation by the CBP. This is required to get C TPAT Certification.

The main eligible companies that can join C TPAT program as part of their C TPAT Certification include US importers of record and US and Canadian Highway Carriers.

C TPAT advisors make the C TPAT security profiles for their clients. If clients are compliant and not eligible to join the C-TPAT program, they do not post their security profile to the U.S. Customs website but the security profile enables the client to present and keep market share for their import or service provider by being able to request business with companies that are C TPAT members or compliant and have their C TPAT Certification.

C-TPAT recognizes that Customs can provide the highest level of security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the supply chain, importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators, and manufacturers. This initiative asks that business work to ensure the integrity of their supply chain processes and business partners, and successfully maintain open communication of their status. The program is not limited to large importer/exporters as CBP recognizes that small and medium-sized companies are integral parts of maintaining secure borders.

Benefits of C-TPAT Compliance

  • Reduced time and cost of getting cargo released
  • Reduced insurance rates
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Mutual Recognition (PIP)
  • Eligibility for FAST Lane Program
  • Assigned C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist

What does it take to apply?
In order to join the C-TPAT Program, the applicant must conduct a comprehensive assessment of their operations and international supply chain business partners based upon the C-TPAT security criteria.

  • Business Partner Screening
  • Container Security
  • Physical Access Controls
  • Personnel Security
  • Procedural Security
  • Security Training and Threat Awareness
  • Physical Security
  • Information Technology Security

Eligible Business Types:

  • U.S. Importers
  • Foreign Manufacturers
  • Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers
  • U.S. Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries, and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers
  • U.S./Canada Highway Carriers
  • U.S./Mexico Highway Carriers
  • Rail Carriers
  • Sea Carriers
  • Air Carriers
  • U.S. Marine Port Authority/Terminal Operator


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