The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification program is a voluntary government program through which importers and exporters can agree to implement and maintain a set of predetermined supply chain security measures and submit to government site visits in exchange for benefits such as expedited review of shipment documentation at the border. The program is designed to streamline import/export procedures, increase shipment security, and save the C-TPAT partner company time and money. Nearly a year ago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) expanded the previously importers-only C-TPAT to include exporters, releasing a fact sheet outlining eligibility requirements and the benefits available to participants that I discussed in this September 2014 post. Then in May 2015, CBP deployed “Phase II of Portal 2.0” – an update to the C-TPAT web portal that includes the addition of the exporter application to the site, effectively implementing the September 2014 policy change.
Bottom line: U.S. exporters can now review the requirements and benefits of the program to see if submitting a C-TPAT exporter application would be worthwhile for their business. Although there are undeniable benefits to becoming a C-TPAT partner company there are also significant costs associated with implementation of the program’s security requirements. As a result, participation in C-TPAT is an individual decisions that should be made based on your company’s unique circumstances and business goals.