C-TPAT reauthorization legislation is introduced

A push to reauthorize The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) for the first time in 11 years is underway in the form of legislation recently introduced by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ).

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A push to reauthorize The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) for the first time in 11 years is underway in the form of legislation recently introduced by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ).

C-TPAT was established under the SAFE Port Act of 2006. This global supply chain security program is comprised of companies voluntarily partnering with United States CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to enhance security throughout their supply chain, with CBP working with them to protect the supply chain, identify gaps and implement specific security measures and best practices. CBP, after vetting applicants, visits their sites to validation implementation of the security criteria.

McSally’s office said that this legislation ensures that the C-TPAT program is updated to meet the dynamic threats facing the global supply chain, with C-TPAT participants receiving “tangible benefits” for their partnership with CBP for a secure supply chain.

“In Arizona, we understand both the vital economic importance of cross-border commerce as well as the need to secure the border against terrorists. This program helps with both,” said McSally in a statement. “Beating terrorists takes teamwork. CBP’s partnership with entities throughout the global supply chain helps ensure high standards of security, and it also streamlines cross-border commerce by pre-vetting companies, allowing their cargo to be expedited through our overburdened and undermanned ports of entry. It’s been eleven years since this program first began, and it is time for it to be updated to reflect our modern global economy.”

Albert Saphir, principal of ABS Consulting in Weston Fla., said in an interview that this legislation serves as a first step that may eventually lead to a revitalization of C-TPAT, adding that the “real” global program is AEO, which goes far beyond the basics in C-TPAT.

AEO is a party involved in the international movement of goods in whatever function that has been approved by or on behalf of a national Customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards, according to the World Customs Organization.

“If indeed Congress would look at this more closely, it would be good to ‘upgrade’ C-TPAT to more closely resemble the AEO program, make it a true AEO program for U.S. companies that address all aspects of import and export trade and shipping,” Saphir explained.  “In that regard now we have fallen far behind the rest of the world which are implementing AEO programs.”

Saphir added that C-TPAT would need to be updated and modernized to move away from just the initial reason which was a result of 9/11. 

“I think it would be greatly beneficial, but CBP would need more funding/resources to do this well,” he said.  “And as we know, the membership count of C-TPAT participating companies has been stagnant for years now, around the 10,000-11,000 mark. And if the program is upgraded, maybe requiring some more stringent participant qualifications, then, of course, the benefit side also needs to be addressed and updated.  As we know, some of the benefits are not easily measurable or not even tangible and of course managing National Security is not an easy task.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Article Topics

C-TPAT · Supply Chain Security · All Topics
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