The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary,
government-trade partnership administered by U.S. Customs and Border
C-TPAT aims to partner with the private sector to better strengthen
the global supply chain.
C-TPAT members agree to develop and implement a verifiable, documented
program to enhance security procedures throughout their supply chain
and then communicate these practices to all business partners and employees
within their supply chain.
require eleven pre-paid students in order to conduct a class.
Contact us at 310-630-0174 to arrange a class at your location
C-TPAT Frequently Asked Questions
We use a business partner that is already C-TPAT
certified and validated. We have requested and obtained Status Verification
Interface number(s) and/or Web Portal ID tokens to confirm their
C-TPAT status. Is there anything else we must do to ensure this business
partner is C-TPAT compliant?
No. If a business partner
has been certified and validated in C-TPAT, you do not need to
obtain further information from that partner in terms of their
compliance with C-TPAT security criteria or guidelines. CBP will
work directly with that business partner on its supply chain
security improvement plan by means of their confidential Supply
Chain Security Profile on file with CBP. You should monitor your
business partner’s on-going status
within C-TPAT to ensure it continues to be certified.
As an Importer, we are aiming for or have already
achieved tiered status within C-TPAT. We already require our
business partners to be C-TPAT certified, if eligible. In connection
with Tier Three status, should we also require our C-TPAT validated
business partners to complete detailed security questionnaires?
The C-TPAT program does not require that C-TPAT certified and
validated business partners complete security surveys, disclose
internal security audit results, or fill-out other questionnaires
regarding implementation of the C-TPAT security criteria or guidelines.
Such programs may be appropriate for non-C-TPAT business partners,
but are not appropriate for C-TPAT certified and validated business
partners. C-TPAT members should aim to achieve an open dialogue
with all business partners, C-TPAT certified and non-C-TPAT certified
alike, on ways to improve supply chain security.
The Self-Assessments section of
the Best Practices Catalog mentions conducting periodic security
audits and holding foreign business partners accountable by various
means such as conducting unannounced security inspections, hiring
a third-party firm to inspect suppliers and conducting risk-based
audits. Does this apply to C-TPAT certified and validated business
CBP encourages all business partners to conduct self-assessments.
However, where a business partner has already been validated
by CBP, it is not a requirement that a C-TPAT member share the
results of its self-assessments with other business partners,
or complete assessment questionnaires prepared by another C-TPAT
business partner. In addition, the Best Practices Catalog is
not designed as a master check-list of security practices which
must be adopted to achieve tiered-benefit status. From its inception,
C-TPAT has recognized the need for flexibility in the adoption
of security practices, based on customization to the C-TPAT participant’s business model and based on risk.
As such, it is difficult, if not impossible, to reduce the C-TPAT
criteria to a checklist of "yes/no" requirements that would
apply to all participants in all locations all of the time. Most
criteria will logically require a qualified assessment reflecting
a layered approach to security, based on risk, in keeping with each
C-TPAT member’s Supply Chain Security Profile and continuous
improvement plan. C-TPAT members should foster an open dialogue
with all business partners, C-TPAT certified and non-certified
alike, on ways to enhance supply chain security.
What is Customs-Trade Partnership
Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)?
C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business
initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and
improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security.
C-TPAT recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can
provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation
with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as
importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and
manufacturers. Through this initiative, CBP is asking businesses
to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate
and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within
the supply chain.
What kinds of businesses can apply for C-TPAT?
Currently, open enrollment
for C-TPAT is available for the following business types related
to the U.S. import supply chain cargo handling and movement
- U.S. Importers of record
- U.S./Canada Highway Carriers
- U.S./Mexico Highway Carriers
- Rail Carriers
- Sea Carriers
- Air Carriers
- U.S. Marine Port Authority/Terminal Operators
- U.S. Air Freight
Consolidators, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries and Non-Vessel
Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)
- Mexican and Canadian Manufacturers
- Certain Invited Foreign Manufacturers
- Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers
How were these trade participation categories
CBP is responsible for screening all import cargo transactions.
Utilizing risk management principles, C-TPAT seeks to enroll compliant
low-risk companies who are directly responsible for importing, transporting,
and coordinating commercial import cargo into the United States.
The goal is to identify compliant trusted import traders who have
good supply chain security procedures and controls to reduce screening
of their imported cargo. In turn, this enables CBP to focus screening
efforts on import cargo transactions involving unknown or high-risk
How do eligible companies apply to participate in
Businesses must apply to participate in C-TPAT. Participants
complete an online electronic application on www.cbp.gov that 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 or guidelines 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
What are the benefits of participation in C-TPAT?
C-TPAT offers trade-related
businesses an opportunity to play an active role in the war against
terrorism. By participating in this first worldwide supply chain
security initiative, companies will ensure a more secure and expeditious
supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers. Beyond
these essential security benefits, CBP will offer benefits to certain
certified C-TPAT member categories, including:
- A reduced number of CBP inspections (reduced border delay times)
processing for CBP inspections. (Front of the Line processing
for inspections when possible.)
- Assignment of a C-TPAT Supply
Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) who will work with the company
to validate and enhance security throughout the company’s
international supply chain.
- Potential eligibility for CBP Importer
Self-Assessment program (ISA) with an emphasis on self-policing,
not CBP audits.
- Eligibility to attend C-TPAT supply chain security
will the partnership work on an ongoing basis?
Upon satisfactory completion
of the C-TPAT Online application and supply chain security profile,
participants will be assigned a CBP C-TPAT Supply Chain Security
Specialist (SCSS). A SCSS will contact the participant to begin the
C-TPAT validation process.
What happens if a company fails to meet
the C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines?
Failure to meet
C-TPAT commitments will result in suspension or removal of C-TPAT
certification status and associated benefits. Benefits may be reinstated
upon correcting identified deficiencies in compliance and/or security.
can I get more information on C-TPAT?
C-TPAT information is maintained
on the www.cbp.gov web site.
exactly are CBP expectations for the C-TPAT participant?
a commitment toward the common goal of creating a more secure and
efficient supply chain through partnership. CBP understands that
it has entered a new era and requires the assistance of private industry
to ensure increased vigilance throughout the supply chain. CBP recognizes
that just as it protects the trade and our borders, businesses must
ensure that their brands, employees, and customers are protected
to the best of their abilities.
Will the information our company provides
to C-TPAT be confidential?
All information on supply chain security
submitted by companies applying for the C-TPAT program will be confidential.
CBP will not disclose a company's participation in C-TPAT.
As a company,
we are very interested in C-TPAT but we are not interested in spending
a lot of money or increasing our liabilities if something goes wrong.
Is it still possible to participate in C-TPAT?
The decision to join
C-TPAT is voluntary. Not all companies may be in a position to meet
C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines.
All eligible companies
that import into the U.S. or provide import cargo movement or handling
services should assess their supply chain security procedures to
determine if they can qualify. CBP intent is to not impose security
requirements that will be cost prohibitive. For this reason, we worked
in concert with the trade community in developing security criteria
and guidelines that reflect a realistic business perspective. Potential
C-TPAT participants may find that they already have many of these
guidelines in place.
C-TPAT is also not intended to create any new
'liabilities' for companies beyond existing trade laws and regulations.
However, joining C-TPAT will commit companies to follow through on
actions specified in the signed agreement. These actions include
self-assessing security systems, submitting security questionnaires,
developing security enhancement plans, and communicating C-TPAT guidelines
to companies in the supply chain. If a company fails to uphold its
C-TPAT commitments, CBP would take action to suspend benefits or
What is the overall vision for C-TPAT in the
coming months and years?
recognizes that a safe and secure supply chain is the most critical
part of our work in keeping our country safe. For this reason, CBP
is seeking a strong anti-terrorism partnership with the trade community
through C-TPAT. Trade partners will have a commitment to both trade
security and trade compliance rooted in their business practices.
CBP wants to work closely with companies whose good business practices
ensure supply chain security and compliance with trade laws.
C-TPAT program a viable consideration for medium or small size companies?
CBP encourages all companies to take an active role in promoting
supply chain and border security. C-TPAT is not just a big-company
program. Medium and small companies may want to evaluate the requirements
and benefits of C-TPAT carefully in deciding whether to apply for
the program. Moreover, even without official participation in C-TPAT,
companies should still consider employing C-TPAT guidelines in their
C-TPAT Carrier FAQ's
As a carrier, I already participate in the Customs
Carrier Initiative - is it a duplication of effort in joining C-TPAT?
C-TPAT is the primary CBP supply chain security program. CBP is looking
for carriers to join C-TPAT to enhance existing security practices
and better address the terrorism threat to international air, sea,
and land cross-border shipping.
C-TPAT participation requires that
a Carrier Initiative Program (CIP) participant implement and document
specific C-TPAT supply chain security guidelines or criteria. CIP
participants should already subscribe to the importance of security
from a narcotics-smuggling perspective and are well positioned to
expand their security focus to encompass anti-terrorism.
In the less-than-truckload
motor carrier environment, is each C-TPAT importer required to place
a new ISO 17712 compliant seal on the trailer when the pickup and
delivery (P&D) driver picks
Trailer and container integrity must be maintained to
protect against the introduction of unauthorized material and/or
persons. In the less-than-truckload, pickup and delivery environment,
the use of a secured padlock or similar locking device is sufficient
to meet the importer C-TPAT sealing requirements. Only a limited
number of individuals should have access to open this padlock.
However, after the freight from the P&D trucks is sorted,
consolidated and loaded onto line haul trailers which are then
destined to cross the U.S. border, these trailers must then be
sealed with a high security seal which meets or exceeds the current
PAS ISO 17712 standards for high security seals. Written procedures
should stipulate how seals are controlled, to include procedures
for recognizing and reporting compromised seals and/or trailers
to CBP or the appropriate foreign authority. Only designated
employees should distribute container seals for integrity purposes.
For trucking operations where a truck
makes several pickups and then heads straight for the U.S. border,
what kinds of sealing or locking devices will be required?
operations that do not use a hub to sort or consolidate freight
prior to crossing the U.S. border, the importer and/or trucking
company must use ISO 17712 high security seals for the trailer
at each stop, and to cross the border. Written internal procedures
must be in place to record the change in seals, as well as stipulate
how seals are controlled and distributed, and how discrepancies
are noted and reported. As CBP develops the minimum security
criteria for truck carriers, this requirement will be discussed
in greater detail and may or may not be modified.
What about tank trucks and flatbeds and other equipment
that cannot be sealed?
Tank trucks and flatbeds hauling goods for
C-TPAT importers that are incapable of being sealed do not need to
be sealed or padlocked.
What other kinds of locking or sealing devices
are acceptable for use by P&D drivers in an LTL environment?
intent of this security element is to maintain the integrity of the
trailer and prevent unauthorized access. CBP does not stipulate exactly
what kind of device is required, but instead provides general criteria
which affords the importer the flexibility in how to meet this standard.
must the seals be applied to the trailer?
Seals must be applied to
the trailer to prevent and detect any unauthorized access.
suspend or remove me from the C-TPAT program if I do not implement
a sealing program for trailers destined for the United States?
membership in the C-TPAT program is contingent upon a continued,
demonstrated commitment to enhancing supply chain security, and on
meeting the outlined minimum security criteria. At present, only
C-TPAT importers are governed by the minimum security criteria, but
development of the minimum security criteria governing sea carriers,
air carriers, and truck carriers is underway. Container security
measures, including sealing requirements, are crucial aspects to
supply chain security and C-TPAT members who do not adopt acceptable
practices may be suspended. CBP will continue to work in partnership
with members to address individual business models and company concerns.
Any decisions to suspend or remove a C-TPAT member from the program
are taken seriously, are only made by senior C-TPAT program managers,
and are initiated only after discussions with the C-TPAT member have
failed to resolve the security deficiency.