Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 provided a statutory framework for the CTPAT program and imposed strict program oversight requirements.
Applying for C-TPAT
The CTPAT application process includes submission of corporate information, a supply chain security profile, and an acknowledgement of an agreement to voluntarily participate. In completing the supply chain security profile, companies must conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of their supply chain security procedures, using the C-TPAT security criteria jointly developed by CBP and the trade community for their specific enrollment category. The criteria or guidelines, available for review on the CBP website, encompass the following areas: Business Partner Requirements, Procedural Security, Physical Security, Personnel Security, Education and Training, Access Controls, Manifest Procedures, Information Security, and Conveyance Security.
CTPAT Partners enjoy a variety of benefits, including taking an active role in working closer with the U.S. Government in its war against terrorism. As they do this, Partners are able to better identify their own security vulnerabilities and take corrective actions to mitigate risks. Some of the benefits of the program include:
Reduced number of CBP examinations
Front of the line inspections
Possible exemption from Stratified Exams
Shorter wait times at the border
Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States
Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program
Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise
CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria and Guidelines
In order to be accepted into CTPAT, your company must be able to meet certain security requirements.
Consolidators (Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transport Intermediaries, and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC))
Marine Port Authority and Terminal Operators
Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)
Enforcement and Appeals Process
The C-TPAT program was codified into law by the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006. This law imposed strict oversight requirements on CBP, including requiring C-TPAT to suspend or remove program benefits to any Partner that fails to meet program requirements (SEC. 217 (a) (b)). Reasons for suspending/removing a Partner's benefits include, but are not limited to, failure to: adhere to the C-TPAT Partner Agreement to Voluntarily Participate; meet the minimum security criteria; meet eligibility requirements; comply with other rules, laws, and regulations.