Voluntary Customs Trade Inspection Certification Effective Terrorism Protection Strategy

Voluntary Customs Trade Inspection Certification Effective Terrorism Protection Strategy

1The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a certification in which commercial transportation companies can voluntarily participate. The program is managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. The purpose of the program is to ensure security measures are met in order to prevent terrorism in the U.S.

Criteria for C-TPAT Highway Carrier Security include business partner requirements, conveyance security, less-than truck load requirements, physical access controls, personnel security, procedural security, physical security, security training and threat awareness and information & technology security.

When the program launched in November 2001 seven private companies enrolled to improve the security of their supply chains. Today, over 10,854 members participate; 4,315 importers in the program account for 54% of the value of all merchandise brought into the U.S.

Motor carrier participants engage in a workshop designed to train drivers to recognize trucks and trailers that have been compromised for the purpose of smuggling terrorists, terrorist weapons and contraband.

The inspection workshop covers:

  • 17-point truck and trailer inspection process
  • Inspection documentation
  • Affixing seals

The regulations specify policies and procedures that relate to the locations at which the security inspections should be conducted. These locations include:

  • Container storage depot
  • Manufacturer
  • Service provider
  • Carrier
  • Third party warehouse
  • Distribution centers
  • Customer locations

Conveyance inspection procedures are clearly set out. Use of a checklist, systematic inspections and specific visual inspection criteria are all clearly detailed. The 17-point truck and trailer inspections are the focal point of the criteria. These include:

  • Bumper
  • Engine
  • Tires (truck & trailer)
  • Floor (inside truck)
  • Fuel tanks
  • Cab/storage compartments
  • Air tanks
  • Drive shafts
  • Fifth wheel
  • Outside/undercarriage
  • Outside/inside doors
  • Floor (inside trailer)
  • Side Walls
  • Front Walls
  • Ceiling/Roof
  • Refrigeration unit
  • Exhaust

Companies who achieve C-TPAT certification must have a documented process for determining and eliminating risk throughout their international supply chain. Companies that meet this criteria are considered “low risk”, which means they have to go through fewer inspections which saves time.

For more information about the C-TPAT certification and criteria, please visit the Customs Border Protection Agency’s C-TPAT Highway Carrier Security Criteria.