Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) is but one layer in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Through this program, CBP works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve United States border security. 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.
A Growing Partnership
From its inception in November 2001, CTPAT continued to grow. Today, more than 11,400 certified partners spanning the gamut of the trade community, have been accepted into the program. The partners include U.S. importers/exporters, U.S./Canada highway carriers; U.S./Mexico highway carriers; rail and sea carriers; licensed U.S. Customs brokers; U.S. marine port authority/terminal operators; U.S. freight consolidators; ocean transportation intermediaries and non‐operating common carriers; Mexican and Canadian manufacturers; and Mexican long‐haul carriers, all of whom account for over 52 percent (by value) of cargo imported into the U.S.
How CTPAT works
When an entity joins CTPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain.
CTPAT members are considered to be of low risk, and are therefore less likely to be examined at a U.S. port of entry.
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