You might be asking yourself, as I did, what in the world is C-TPAT? After reading up on the acronym, I realized that Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism is an interesting supply chain program that was spearheaded by the United States Customs and Border Protection.
1 – The program is established to improve security used by private companies, as it relates to their supply chain, in the fight against terrorism.
We live in a day and age where terrorism seems to be everywhere. The ingenuity and creativity used by these people is at a high level with the intention of causing damage to property, assets or people.
2 – This certification is important, but not necessary.
Terrorism continues to wreak havoc in different countries and having a global system for preventing these atrocities is paramount. If you want to think outside-the-box and go with the trends, gaining accreditation is a no-brainer. Import/Export and Oceanic Transportation will continue to receive major inspections and heightened scrutiny. Being a member in this program will make your life much easier.
3 – Your organization needs to have their supply chain fully documented.
Every aspect of the process from pickup to staging to drop off at its final destination, must be itemized and accountable. Action steps towards recognizing, reducing and removing potential or real risks throughout the trip must be addressed.
4 – Certification means that your company is considered to be a low risk.
CBP inspectors have a thankless job. Time is money and everyone wants to be ushered through, so that they can reach their final destination. The C-TPAT expedites this process and puts your company on the fast track.
5 – Many different types of businesses are eligible.
There are many ways to transport goods or merchandise. Because of this fact, several different sub-industries encompass this program. These include, but are not limited to:
Recognized U.S. Importers, US/Canada Cross Border Highway Carriers, Air, Sea & Rail Carriers, US Air Freight Consolidators, Mexican Long Haul Carriers, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries, Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers, US/Mexico Cross Border Highway Carriers, Invitation-Only Foreign Manufacturers, US Marine Terminal Operators and Port Authority Personnel, Licensed US Customs Brokers, Canadian Manufacturing Companies, Third-Party Logistics Support or Mexican Manufacturing Companies and Exporters.
6 – Gaining accreditation is good for your business in the long-term.
Financially, you might not see big savings immediately. Over the entire course of your certification, the benefits you will receive are more subtle and will result in an overall reduction in your bottom line expenses.
Some of the benefits include: Priority (Front-Of-Line) and a reduced number of CBP Inspections; potential penalty mitigation due to “low risk” status in certain situations; a Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) assigned by the CBP to help your process be expedient; granting CBP permission to share your information with other countries, in most cases, will also speed up inspection times at their ports, as well. Tier 3 Importers are granted a block designation application to the DHS Safety Act.
7 – C-TPAT means only a minimal investment in resources/IT Infrastructure.
If your company were to invest in the right technology from the very beginning of this certified lifespan, the overall risk analysis, organization and data collection would be a seamless process that creates better usage of your time.
8 – C-TPAT Security Seals are like a secret handshake.
Federal CBP Inspectors conduct searches on thousands of vehicles each week. A company that uses the authorized tags sends a visual signal to the inspector that you might know what you are supposed to be doing. Upon a quick check of paperwork and documentation, knowing your group is a part of the program makes processing a snap.
9 – Contrary to popular opinion, the goal is not to load you down with more work.
This program is designed to improve the overall security of your supply chains and hopefully, eliminate ridiculous amounts of paperwork and red tape that come with not being in the program.
10 – As this program evolves, you will receive more benefits.
Several different bills and acts are working their way through Congress for consideration. Some of these bills include the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act and the DHS Safety Act. If you are an international hauler in North America or work in the cargo/transportation industry, the future is now.