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Customs' Increased C-TPAT Security Standards

November 18, 2004

Significant modifications to the C-TPAT program to base participation upon industry minimum required security standards are under consideration by CBP. A second draft dated 11-2-04 was provided to selected importers for review, after the initial draft was unfavorably reviewed by selected importers. A third draft may be published after comments are received by and reviewed by CBP.

The purpose of these changed procedures is to enable C-TPAT importers to identify supply chain weaknesses that can be corrected. Although the initial draft set forth minimum industry standards, the security standards in the second draft are more extensive and add additional areas, and are to be applied on a case-by-case basis depending on the company's size and structure, or may not apply to all. This plan, however, is to provide for customization and flexibility.  

Business Partners

New business partner requirements involve verifiable processes to select manufacturers, product suppliers, and/or vendors, carriers, terminal operators, brokers, and consolidators. The importer is to ensure that the pertinent security measures are in place and adhered to by the business partners, and are documented in a security profile or report in the C-PAT profile submission for these suppliers. Business partners must provide a report which outlines their current securing procedures to identify potential weaknesses and to verify that the standards are being met.

Service providers are to indicate participation in C-TPAT for the Carrier Initiative Program (CIP), Super Carrier Initiative Program (SCIP), and the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (Basic).

Container Security

As to container security, importers must require that procedures be in place at the time of container stuffing and sealing to maintain the integrity of the cargo, including a high security mechanical seal affixed to the loaded container. All seals must meet or exceed current PAS ISO 17712 standards for high-security mechanical seals. Procedures must also be in place to verify the physical integrity of the container prior to sealing. Seal changes must be recorded, reported and updated in a timely manner, in addition to the container being checked at each delivery point. Containers must be stored in secure areas.

Physical Security Controls

Physical access controls must prevent unauthorized entry and access to facilities, and are to require positive identification of all employees, visitors, and vendors at points of entry for employees, visitors, and deliveries; challenging and removing unauthorized persons; and securing physical access.

Personnel Security

Personnel security requirements include screening of perspective employees to verify pre-employment, background investigations, and personnel termination procedures.

Documentary Controls

Procedural security includes the preparation of documents that are complete, legible, accurate; and protected against the change, loss or introduction of erroneous information.

Cargo Handling

The shipping and receiving of cargo should be reconciled against advanced information on the cargo manifest, and departing cargo should be verified against purchase or delivery orders. All cargo discrepancies must be resolved or investigated. Mail and package deliveries should be screened before dissemination.

Physical Handling

Physical security includes the fencing, gates and gatehouses, parking, building structure locking devices and key controls, lighting and alarm systems.

Future Proposals

We will provide additional information regarding these changes at such time as CBP makes available the next proposed revision. Once finalized, companies should carefully reviews the new requirements to determine their expected costs of maintenance and their ability to meet these requirements.

Our firm assists importers, brokers, and other parties to apply for, and meet, the ongoing requirements of participating in C-TPAT. If you have any questions on any of the issues raised in this newsletter, please contact George R. Tuttle, Sr. at (415) 288-0425 or via email at, or Steve Spraitzar at (415) 288-0427 or via email at, or George R. Tuttle, III at (415) 288-0428 or via email at

George R. Tuttle, Sr., Stephen Spraitzar and George R. Tuttle, III are attorneys with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco. The information in this article is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

Copyright 2005 by Tuttle Law Offices.

All rights reserved. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.


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