Concerned About Shipment Security? Join the Government’s C-TPAT Program

Terrorism tops the national agenda, but it’s tough to figure out what to do about it on a day-to-day level in your business. For those of you who ship products overseas (and receive merchandise from abroad), the government has come up with a practical method to address the problem of cargo security. In a session at Logistics Service Providers 2004, taking place Dec. 6-8 at Miami’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Jose Parrendo, supply chain specialist at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, described the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

To begin with, he said, the government needs the help of private industry in combating terrorism and beefing up port security. U.S. CBP handles a mind-boggling 1.3 million passengers a year and polices 354 airports, 146 seaports, 33 inland checkpoints, and 96,000 miles of U.S. borders. Screening high-risk shipments using advanced inspection technologies requires the involvement of the private sector, Parrendo said, noting that such cooperation results in prevention of terrorism, promotes shared responsibility, and increases supply chain security and efficiency.

Parrendo stressed that business participation in C-TPAT is voluntary. Members receive customized application of the program’s guidelines. C-TPAT officials recruit industry leaders to assess their own companies, develop security systems, communicate official guidelines to their supply chain partners, and educate their employees about possible threats to security. Fewer inspections, reduced cargo theft and pilferage, and access to free and secure trade are among the bonuses of C-TPAT membership.

Currently, the program has 7,251 members, of whom 289 are foreign manufacturers. The members represent 42% of total import value and include 79 of the top 100 U.S. importers. C-TPAT employs 20 supply chain specialists and to date has completed 409 validations. For more information, visit http://cbp.gov/ or call Jose Parrendo at (305) 871-7950.

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