The Importance of CTPAT Membership

Camelot this month is undergoing a re-validation from Customs and Border Protection which reaffirms our security program in place as members of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Program, or CTPAT.CTPAT

The origins of CTPAT are rooted post-September 11th, when the largest importers approached Customs to say that in the event of another attack against a seaport or airport, they wanted to know how  legitimate cargo could and would begin moving through the supply chain.  These companies, who demonstrated to Customs the security programs that they already had in place for employee background checks, loss prevention and facility security, worked with CBP to create a program that, while still voluntary, is de rigeur for supply chain providers expecting to do business with large importers.

The idea behind CTPAT is that when all members of the supply chain participate (importer, carrier, terminal, freight forwarder and Customs broker), the risk of an introduction of an authorized device is reduced, and Customs should assign a lower risk score which facilitates a faster release.  There are also three “tiers” of membership where additional benefits are accrued for those who are higher tiered and also not just certified, but also validated.

CBP performs validations on companies in the US and overseas.  They can perform inspections without impediment in every country but China, where they have negotiated a fixed number of visits per year with Chinese authorities.

The CTPAT program has also achieved mutual recognition status around the world with several other countries and Customs organizations, including the European Community (in synch with their Authorized Economic Operator program), Japan, Canada, Jordan, South Korea and New Zealand.

CTPAT, along with the Importer Security Filing (10 + 2) and the Advanced Manifest Rule, all are designed to give Customs the opportunity to shrink the haystack to make finding the needle easier.

If your company is not already a participant in the CTPAT program, we strongly encourage you to review the program and participate.  It can be to your financial advantage when doing business with companies who mandate that potential suppliers have a cargo security program in place; it puts you ahead of those who are without one.

Camelot’s partner in our CTPAT program maintenance is Ms. Suzanne Richer of CTSI in Princeton, New Jersey.  Suzanne’s company is capable of assisting with any portion of the CTPAT program, from initial validation through compliance manual creation and audit preparation.  She can be reached by e-mail at smricher at, or by telephone at (609) 896-2210.The Importance of CTPAT Membership

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