Supply Chain Security
C-TPAT was established as a direct result of September 11, 2001. On that day terrorists carried out suicide attacks at strategic targets in the U.S. killing over 3,000 people. The world would forever be changed because of that awful attack and the security of our nations infrastructure, transportation and trade channels had to be reviewed and strengthened. In November 2001, C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) was established. The goal? “…to safeguard the world’s vibrant trade industry from terrorists, maintaining the economic health of the U.S. and its neighbors.”
In the beginning there were just seven major importers, now C-TPAT has over 11,400 certified partners including importers, land carriers, sea carriers, customs brokers, freight consolidators, Mexican and Canadian manufacturers and more – all working to insure international trade is safe and secure. 52% of all imports coming into the United States are C-TPAT certified.
C-TPAT certification requires that members meet the clear supply chain security criteria established for the program. Each member signs an agreement to work with CBP (Customs Border Protection) to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. In return, members are considered low risk so less likely to be examined based on past compliance history.
Some of the benefits of becoming C-TPAT certified are:
* Reduced examination rates for importers: As an example, importers who exceeded C-TPAT requirments are 9 times less likely to undergo a security based examination than non-C-TPAT importers. Importers that just meet the C-TPAT expectations also enjoy 3.5 times less exams.
* Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes: This amounts to expedited border crossings at many Canada / Mexico land border ports. This saves considerable time.
* Stratified exam benefit for importer partners: Those who also participate in the self-assessment program are exempt from stratified exams.
* Front of line processing: This privilege is granted to C-TPAT shipments subject to examination to the extent possible and practical. These shipments are moved to the head of the line over non-CTPAT importers.