The Benefits of Becoming a C-TPAT Partner

Date of publication: August 24, 2020

Companies interested in combating terrorism, supporting the international supply chain, and receiving benefits like shorter wait times or a reduced number of inspections may want to consider becoming a C-TPAT partner.

What is C-TPAT?

The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary program that is part of the United States Customs and Border Protection’s cargo enforcement strategy. C-TPAT focuses on the relationship between the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and businesses. It aims to strengthen the security of U.S. borders and the international supply chain, while also encouraging the flow of trade.

The C-TPAT initiative began in 2001, and has since grown to include over 11,400 partners within the trade community. Partners with C-TPAT include U.S. importers and exporters, U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico highway carriers, U.S. marine port authority and terminal operators, and Mexican and Canadian manufacturers, among many others. Overall, C-TPAT’s partners account for over 52% of cargo imported into the United States.

The Benefits of Becoming a C-TPAT Partner

When an entity becomes a C-TPAT partner, they make an agreement to assist CBP in protecting the supply chain, identifying gaps in security, and implementing security measures. In return, they see a wide array of benefits. For C-TPAT partners, the benefits include:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Potential exemption from Stratified Exams
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Assignment of a supply chain security specialist
  • Access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at land borders
  • Access to the C-TPAT online Portal system
  • Access to a library of training materials
  • Busines resumption priority after a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s Centers of Excellent and Expertise
  • Eligibility for other U.S. government pilot programs

By becoming a C-TPAT partner and helping CBP strengthen the supply chain, companies may also notice benefits such as greater supply chain integrity and efficiency, increased marketability and public image, a closer relationship with business partners, and reduced cargo theft.

Interested in Becoming a C-TPAT Partner?

Companies interested in receiving these benefits and helping strengthen security and trade can apply to become a C-TPAT partner. Participation in C-TPAT is voluntary, and is open to members of the trade community who demonstrate excellence in supply chain security practices. C-TPAT partners must also have no previous significant security related events, and must meet certain criteria specific to their industry. To learn about the C-TPAT minimum security criteria and guidelines, please view this list from CBP.

Once a company determines that they meet these requirements, they should submit an application via C-TPAT’s Portal system, which includes agreeing to voluntary participation. They will also need to complete a supply chain security profile and conduct a risk assessment. Once these steps are completed and a company is accepted, they will be certified into the program, and will be validated within a year of certification.

There are no fees for becoming a C-TPAT partner.

This content is intended for informational purposes. Due to the generality of this content, the provided information may not be applicable in all situations. We encourage the reader to review the most up-date-regulations directly with the U.S. government’s sources on becoming a C-TPAT partner, which can be found here.