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    CTPAT Conference 2017: Building on the Past - Innovating for the Future

    Posted by Kim M. Caywood-Pierce on Oct 11, 2017 9:26:00 AM
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    Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) is a voluntary public-private partnership program that was implemented as a cargo safety and enforcement strategy following the September 11th terror attacks. More than 11,400 certified companies in the trade community currently participate in the program, and that number continues to grow.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held the 2017 CTPAT conference in the Detroit Metropolitan Area at the end of August. The current Director of CTPAT, Elizabeth Schmelzinger, was among the speakers during the general session. In addition to rolling out the updated name and logo, CTPAT – Your Supply Chain’s Strongest Link, Ms. Schmelzinger was excited to offer insight into program changes and ways that the security profile is being modernized as we look to the future.

    The current vision is to move the program forward using the Trusted Trader (TT) strategy and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) model, essentially working with organizations that satisfy the Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) under CTPAT and adding a Trade Compliance component.

    The tiered approach identifies security, trade compliance, partnership with U.S. Partner Government Agencies (PGAs), and Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), and will ultimately reach a global level. The timeline for rollout of the TT program indicated that they are currently in Phase II and working with seven pilot participants. Phase III, implementation, is scheduled for calendar year 2019.

    CBP is working with TT Pilot members to ensure that benefits are scalable for partners of any size, that all can participate, and that the advantages of doing so are measurable:

    • Cargo processing is being reinvented to increase speed and safety
    • The Unified Cargo Exam process is in the initial stages at both the US/MX and US/CA borders
    • The use of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) equipment is being rolled out at multiple ports of entry
    • The National Target Center (NTC) is expanding technology, which allows for anomalies to be targeted and pinpointed with precision

    While CTPAT will remain a program that requires senior management support, CBP is looking to enhance the security profile by using a systematic approach to  encourage innovation and facilitate integration of these changes into an organization’s general operating procedures.

    The Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) was originally created with a focus on physical security. In today’s ever changing environment, however, the MSC’s are being expanded upon to include the following:

    • Cyber Security
      • Helping to ensure systems won’t be corrupted
    • Financial & Money Laundering
      • Internal Coordination
      • Identify Theft
      • Screening/Validation of Partners (Internal/External)
    • USDA – Pests
    • Carrier Environment
      • Mapping cargo flow & establishing acceptable transit times
      • Investigating delays/interruptions in GPS data
      • Monitoring ACE data/SCAC Codes
    • Seal Security
      • Looking for ways to detect and prevent duplication/compromise

    CBP will continue to validate the security measures within each organization by verifying that documented processes are in place. They will also require evidence of implementation, look for checks and balances as part of the audit process, and work to confirm if sufficient training is established. Organizations are not only urged to perform continual self-assessments of the security procedures that are in place within their organization, but to also maintain ongoing relationships with their supply chain partners. They should know the product, know the supply chain, know their partners, and know industry groups who have a shared interest.

    For instructions to complete the CTPAT annual review and to view training materials related to common CTPAT processes, visit  

    Topics: International Trade Compliance & Enforcement

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