CTPAT: We’re All in This Together - Ascent Global Logistics

CTPAT: We’re All in This Together

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Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT)is a valuable program that helps U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other government entities battle terrorism, security breaches and cargo disruptions by working with trading partners worldwide. CTPAT invites trading partners to participate, seeking members who are already implementing security in their supply chain and those who have had no significant security-related breach. Importers who are interested in the program should meet the following requirements:

  • Be an active U.S. Importer or Non-Resident Canadian Importer (importing goods into the U.S. within the last 12 months)
  • Have and maintain an active U.S. Importer of Record number
  • Have and maintain a valid continuous import bond and a staffed business office in the U.S. or Canada
  • Have a designated company officer who will be the primary security CTPAT officer
  • Sign the CTPAT – Partner Agreement to Voluntarily Participate
  • Develop a supply chain security profile in the CTPAT portal
  • Have no outstanding financial debt to CBP for any unpaid bills or judgments

How to Become a CTPAT Partner

Becoming a CTPAT Partner is voluntary and has no costs associated with joining the program. The application process is online and CTPAT customs officers provide guidance to help each business determine eligibility for the program. Once the program is established within a company, CTPAT certification is renewed annually and validated on-site every three to four years. Additional information can be found on CTPAT’s website.

Minimum Security Criteria

As of 2020, CTPAT developed an updated Minimum Security Criteria for U.S. Importers that includes a focus on:

  1. Corporate Security
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Business Partners
  4. Cybersecurity
  5. Conveyance and IIT Security
  6. Seal Security
  7. Procedural Security
  8. Agricultural Security
  9. Physical Security
  10. Physical Access Controls
  11.  Personnel Security
  12. Education, Training and Awareness

The Importer’s primary CTPAT officer should work with their team to develop processes for each of these areas, monitoring and improving each one as necessary.  CTPAT is not a “one-man” show but incorporates people and processes from every part of the business organization. 

Benefits of Joining CTPAT

Active members of CTPAT may enjoy a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Access to the FAST lanes at the border
  • Partnership with CBP CTPAT officers, who can provide guidance and feedback on security risks within trading partner’s supply chain
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise
  • Peace of mind in better identifying personal security vulnerabilities and being able to take corrective action

CTPAT exists and thrives through partnerships with each touchpoint in a supply chain. The end goal of CTPAT is security; the security of cargo, the security of the various transport modes, but most importantly, the security of people here and abroad.

Ascent Global Logistics is a proud member of the CTPAT Broker and Consolidator sectors and has participated in the program since 2003. This month, we celebrate our involvement in CTPAT, and we encourage others to participate.

Who said logistics has to be complicated? We certainly didn’t. Contact our experts to learn more about Trade Compliance.


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