The terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001 have undoubtedly changed the world political landscape in different ways. Even today, it has a major impact on world economics. To prevent the risk of attacks and keep the country safe, the government of the United States established CTPAT, which is now mandatory for importers to work with/in the country.
CTPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) is a program that is led by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the United States to improve the level of security of private companies’ supply chains with the help of CTPAT audit. Companies that join CTPAT program work with the trade community members to strengthen global supply chain security. The objective of these companies is to keep the supply chain protected from terrorist organizations.
Who Can Be Part Of CTPAT Program?
Many people have a misconception that the CTPAT program is only just for the importer and exporters. But the fact is, companies of various types such as third-party logistics providers, importers, cross-border highway carriers, exporters, terminal operators, marine port authorities, consolidators, rail carriers, air carriers, customs brokers, and ocean carriers are also eligible for CTPAT membership.
All they need to do is to complete the CTPAT and the requirements to be part of the CTPAT program and get the CTPAT certification that they can further use for different reasons. Knowing more about the CTPAT program, its audit, as well as requirements, help the companies/importers get the CTPAT certification. Some common things that each importer must know about CTPAT audit and requirements are listed below.
Reasons To Join CTPAT
There are many reasons for being part of the CTPAT program. From limiting number of CBP inspections, to having a role in the war against terrorism, FAST lane access at different land borders, and getting the priority processing for CBP analysis, companies want to be part of the CTPAT program for different reasons. But what counts most is to follow the process as well as complete the requirements properly. This is not just important to be eligible for the CTPAT but also to get the certification and other benefits.
A CTPAT audit is a risk-based assessment that helps to improve supply chain security. It is the current level of security in the supply chain and helps you know whether you are CTPAT compliant or not. To evaluate whether you are currently C-TPAT compliant or not, a CTPAT audit evaluates the security aspects of your business. A CTPAT audit consists of the major aspects that pay high attention to container security, Information Technology, physical access controls, threat awareness, physical security, procedural security, conveyance security, and security training.
CTPAT audit examines the safety policies, strength user access controls, detail of compliance preparations, and company method of risk management. It also outlines internal methods of the business that can be enhanced or modified as per the CTPAT requirements and regulations. While making a CTPAT audit, companies have to pay good attention to:
- Correct documentation and paperwork
- Safety management systems
- Risk assessment.
- Shipment methods
- Shipment controls
- Distribution network documentation.
- Firm policies, and processes.
- Minimum safety criteria for technology, personnel, and physical capital
If you are an importer and want to be the part of CTPAT program, then it is essential for you to first be eligible to join CTPAT. To be eligible to join CTPAT, you have to be an active importer or non-resident Canadian importer who has done business/imported goods into the United States in the last 12 months. Along with this, you also have to be a valid US importer of Record (IOR) number and an uninterrupted bond that is registered with Customs and Border Control.
To be eligible, it is also essential for you to operate a business office that is staffed in either Canada or the US. It is also important to commit that you will properly maintain the criteria of CTPAT supply chain security, which is outlined in the Importer Agreement of the CTPAT. Those who are designated company employees who work as the primary C-TPAT cargo officer are also considered eligible for CTPAT.
At the time of the application, it is also essential to make sure you do not have any unpaid debt that you owed to CBP. Paying attention to these requirements not only just helps you join CTPAT but also helps to avoid issues and mistakes that can cost you high and prevent you from being eligible for the CTPAT.
After the completion of the CTPAT audit, you are provided a final report from the third party. The report helps you get an in-depth understanding of the strengths as well as weaknesses of supply chain security. The audit report not only just addresses your weaknesses but also helps you know different corrective action plans.
For CTPAT certification, the applicant has to review the Minimum Security Criteria of CTPAT for their business entity. Reviewing the CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria help them determine the eligibility requirements. The company applying for the certification has to use the CTPAT Portal system to apply for membership. It is also important for them to complete a supply chain security profile.
They have to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment analysis of the supply chain to complete the profile of supply chain security. This helps them show how each link meets the security requirements.
To many businesses, joining a CTPAT program seems to be time-consuming, complicated, and unnecessary. But joining the CTPAT program is one of the best ways to be recognized as a safe/low-risk importer or exporter. It improves your of engaging in newer business opportunities and also plays a major role in increasing your brand reputation as well as credibility. It also helps the organizations in getting the first preference in terms of inspection and participating in trade shows and conferences. The program also helps to get the CTPAT certification that not only just improves the organization’s value in the market but also provides it 100% access to the Free and Secure Trade Lanes at every destination of U.S. ports. Many companies that provide truck dispatcher training also help with CTPAT certification to help individuals, as well as businesses, avoid delivery delays and inspections.