Explore The New Criteria and How It May Affect Your Business

In the shipping industry, there are many policies and governing agencies in place to help streamline efficiency among players and protect the safety and security of all parties involved. One such initiative is the ‘Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism’, more commonly known as the C-TPAT.

As the name suggests, the C-TPAT is aimed to help combat terrorism internationally. It calls on members of the shipping industry – such as carriers, manufacturers, freight forwarders, licensed Customs Brokers, logistics agencies, and more – to help minimize security gaps and ease the threat of terrorism.

About the C-TPAT Initiative

Launched in November 2001, the C-TPAT works closely with the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) to enforce and police anti-terrorism initiatives within the shipping industry. The goal of the initiative is to help maintain integrity and ensure the safety of the community while reducing the threat of terrorism and security gaps in the system.

Since its inception, over 10,000 members of the trade industry have become certified partners of the C-TPAT. The majority of participating members are importers, as they have the most direct relationship with the supply chain and can help implement protection and security measures most effectively. However, just about anyone involved with the shipping industry and trade community can become involved with the C-TPAT, including carriers, transportation fleets, port authorities, terminal operations, 3PL companies, and more.

Certified members of the C-TPAT can also enjoy some perks including reduced fees, faster processing times, and reduced inspections.

New C-TPAT Guidelines

On May 3, 2019, CBP and C-TPAT reviewed and released the final update to the Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) program. The new update aims to target the highest priority security threats, particularly in the fields of cybersecurity, agricultural containments, terrorism financing, and security technology. The initiative pushes members to implement the protection, prevention, and proper use of technologies and safety requirements based on the CBPs recommendations.

Throughout the rest of 2019, C-TPAT certified partners will be working to implement the MSC program internally, as per the proposed approach outlined by the CBP. It is recommended to integrate the new changes over four phases, with all members expected to be complying by 2020 (regardless of when their next validation is scheduled). The CBP has created three focus areas encompassing the 12 current MSC categories which apply across the supply chain to various groups. They are:

  • Corporate security, which oversees areas of risk assessment and business partner requirements, and will now include cybersecurity and security vision and responsibility.
  • Transportation security involves overseeing conveyance and instruments of international traffic security, seal security, procedural security, and the newly introduced agricultural security.
  • People and physical security, which refers to physical access controls, personnel and physical security, as well as education, training, and awareness.

Implementing the New Guidelines

What this means for members of the C-TPAT is that new changes may need to be addressed within your own company. It is the responsibility of all accepted partners to do their part to help ensure the safety of the supply chain among the people involved in the process. Since the new changes must be in place by 2020, members are encouraged to reach out to supply chain security specialists if they need help implementing something.

As we mentioned earlier, CBP recommends internally integrating the new MSC program in phases, to help ensure a sense of uniformity among members and ensure all the necessary steps are met.

The phases are as follows:

  1. Implementing cybersecurity programs, IIT security and seal security to combat cyberterrorism and hackers.
  2. Promoting the education, training, and awareness necessary to ensure all your employees and business partners are properly informed on areas such as business partner security and risk assessment.
  3. Introducing security vision and responsibility to your team, including highlighting the importance of physical security and physical access codes.
  4. Cracking down on agricultural security, including the prevention of containments and pests from entering the supply chain. During this phase, members should be introducing personnel security and procedural security, as well.

Staying Ahead in the Shipping Industry

Keeping the community protected from terrorist attacks via our shipping industry begins at the supply chain. By implementing well-researched, modernized security measures, the C-TPAT can help to reduce evolving supply chain threats. As the field of freight forwarding and importing becomes exponentially larger and more complex, the risk of attacks from global terror organizations and cyber-terrorists increases.

At Promptus LLC, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of issues affecting the supply chain and freight forwarding industry. To ensure affected parties are aware and well-informed of the proposed changes introduced by the MSC, the CBP offers webinars, weekly workshops, and workbooks. Promptus can help assist you with understanding the new C-TPAT regulations, and connect you with a Licensed Customs Broker. Call us at 1-877-776-6799 to receive your quote today!