Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

By Martin Murray

Downloaded on 09MAY2011 from

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency of the US government implemented a partnership with private companies after the events of 9/11 to help protect the supply chain. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) was launched in November 2001, with just seven major importing companies. Currently over 7,400 companies in the global supply chain are enrolled in the program, including importers, customs brokers, terminal operators, carriers and foreign manufacturers. CBP’s C-STAT strategy is based on five goals.

Goal 1 - Ensure that C-TPAT partners improve the security of their supply chains pursuant to C-TPAT security criteria.

This goal is achieved by the following:-

  • Certify security profiles and security information provided by C-TPAT partners.
  • Enhance validation selection approach using risk factors, and expand the scope and volume of C-TPAT validations.
  • Formalize the requirements for C-TPAT self-policing tool, and implement the process for the submission of the C-TPAT periodic self-assessment.
  • Require participants to engage and leverage all business partners within their supply chains.

Goal 2 - Provide incentives and benefits to include expedited processing of C-TPAT shipments to C-TPAT partners.

  • Develop the C-TPAT secure communication platform.
  • Conduct antiterrorism training seminars and targeted outreach for certified partners and the trade community.
  • Share information and security best practices with the membership.
  • Develop minimum security criteria, especially applicable to point of origin, point of stuffing and smarter, more secure cargo containers.
  • Provide expedited processing benefits to C-TPAT partners.

Goal 3 - Internationalize the core principles of C-TPAT through cooperation and coordination with the international community.

  • Partner with the international trade community to help secure global supply chains.
  • Partner with individual customs administrations to improve the coordination of mutual anti-terrorism efforts.
  • Support the work of the World Customs Organization (WCO) to develop a WCO sponsored framework to secure and facilitate global trade that recognizes customs-private sector partnerships.
  • Coordinate with international organizations to improve the security and integrity requirements of their membership.

Goal 4 - Support other CBP security and facilitation initiatives.

  • Support the implementation and expansion of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.
  • Support the development and implementation of a more secure and smarter container.
  • Support and complement CBP’s Container Security Initiative.
  • Support other CBP and Homeland Security antiterrorism initiatives.

Goal 5 - Improve administration of the C-TPAT program.

  • Expand the structured training program for C-TPAT supply chain specialists.
  • Coordinate with the CBP Modernization Office to enhance C-TPAT’s data collection and information management capabilities.

Benefits of Membership to C-TPAT By joining the C-TPAT program, companies are participating in this first worldwide supply chain security initiative. Businesses will ensure a more secure supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers. In addition, there are a number of benefits for companies joining the C-TPAT program:

  • A reduced number of inspections and reduced border wait times.
  • A C-TPAT supply chain specialist to serve as the CBP liaison for validations, security issues, procedural updates, communication and training.
  • Access to the C-TPAT members through the Status Verification Interface.
  • Self-policing and self-monitoring of security activities.
  • In the Automated Commercial System (ACS), C-TPAT certified importers receive reduced selection rate for Compliance Measurement Examinations and exclusion from certain trade-related local and national criteria.
  • C-TPAT certified importers receive targeting benefits by receiving a “credit” via the CBP targeting system.
  • Certified C-TPAT importers are eligible for access to the FAST lanes on the Canadian and Mexican borders.
  • Certified C-TPAT importers are eligible for the Office of Strategic Trade’s (OST) Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA) and have been given priority access to participate in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
  • C-TPAT certified highway carriers, on the Canadian and Mexican borders, benefit from their access to the expedited cargo processing at designated FAST lanes. These carriers are eligible to receive more favorable mitigation relief from monetary penalties.
  • C-TPAT certified Mexican manufacturers benefit from their access to the expedited cargo processing at the designated FAST lanes.
  • All certified C-TPAT companies are eligible to attend CBP sponsored C-TPAT supply chain security training seminars.

CBP provided benefits are not the only benefits that companies realize by joining C-TPAT. Companies have found that joining C-TPAT often results in discovering outdated procedures and/or discovering areas that need improved security and efficiency. While per forming the required supply chain assessment for C-TPAT membership, companies are able to streamline their operations.