CTPAT Certification Benefits for U.S. Importers

CTPAT certification provides member-companies an opportunity to help U.S. Customs with security against terrorism. Find out more about CTPAT benefits here.

CTPAT Certification Benefits for U.S. Importers
(& How to Achieve)

When you participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certification program, you are joining an alliance of more than 11,400 trade partners in the fight for safe product entry into the United States.

And with nearly 25 million product containers arriving in the U.S. every year by land, air, and sea, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency could use the help.

By obtaining CTPAT certification, your company can:

  • Help the CBP carry out cargo security measures more effectively,
  • Improve your own supply chain's security standards, and
  • Secure benefits for your business, such as a faster customs entry process.

Here we will discuss what the CTPAT cargo enforcement strategy is, its certification process, and the benefits it provides member-companies for their participation.

What is CTPAT?

CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program aimed at strengthening international supply chains and improving U.S. border security. The program is based on the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006.

CTPAT Strategy

Because international supply chains operate outside of the CBP's control, the agency largely relies on a variety of private sector companies--with a variety of perspectives--to help the CBP identify security gaps and implement security measures and best practices.

CTPAT-certified members include importers and exporters; U.S., Canadian, and Mexican highway carriers; rail, sea and air carriers; licensed U.S. Customs brokers; U.S. marine port authority and terminal operators; U.S. freight consolidators; ocean transportation intermediaries; and Mexican and Canadian manufacturers.

Three Steps to CTPAT Certification

Step 1. The applicant must review the CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria for their business entity--such as an 'Air Carrier' or 'Foreign Manufacturer'--to determine that entity's particular eligibility requirements.

Step 2. The company must apply for membership through the CTPAT Portal system.

Step 3. The company must complete a supply chain security profile.

In order to complete a supply chain security profile, a company must have already conducted a comprehensive risk assessment analysis of its supply chain to show how each link meets the minimum security requirements.

The best way to ensure completion of this risk assessment is through a third-party organization that specializes in CTPAT-standard supply chain audits.

What are the Benefits of CTPAT Certification?

Above all, the greatest benefit of CTPAT certification is the opportunity to contribute to U.S. cargo security against terrorism and greater protection of your supply chain.

Additionally, the CTPAT program provides business-positive incentives such as:

  • Shorter border wait times,
  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders,
  • Priority inspections following a natural disaster or terrorist attack,
  • Reduced number of CBP inspections,
  • Trusted Partner recognition,
  • Eligibility for other U.S. government pilot programs, and
  • Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials.

The Benefit of the Doubt

A reduced number of CBP inspections is of particular benefit for larger importing companies--companies that routinely bring in a dozen or more crates at a time.

If one out of 20 crates draws CBP attention and requires a minor, but extended inspection effort, the agency will be more likely to give CTPAT-certified companies the benefit of the doubt and allow the other crates through.

Member-companies, considered to be "low risk" by the CBP, can save themselves exponential amounts of additional bondage and inspection time.

How Can QIMA Help with CTPAT Certification?

No matter where your supply chain extends to, a QIMA auditor can be on-site within 48 hours to perform security audits of all CTPAT global and regional requirements.

Additionally, QIMA can help your company set up global auditing programs to vet and monitor every new supplier you enroll.

By participating in the CTPAT certification program, your company can take an active roll in maintaining a secure U.S. import environment, as well as extending those secure practices throughout your global supply chain.

Easily schedule your CTPAT certification audit through our online platform or mobile application today.