According to Customs Border Protection (CBP) there are now over 11,000 companies participating in The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism or C-TPAT, a public-private partnership program implemented in November of 2001 following the September 11 terror attacks.
The program is voluntary and continues to gain in popularity, providing real incentives to those importers who join. In 2014 alone the import value of just 4,315 importers enrolled in C-TPAT accounted for 52% of the total merchandise imported into the US.
Many trade magazines have promoted the benefits of enrolling in the program. In spite of efforts to encourage enrollment, some importers may question whether participation in C-TPAT provides any real benefits. In response, I can say that I work in the proverbial trenches on a daily basis – clearing cargo on the front lines and dealing with customs regulations. In my years as a licensed customs broker, I have sometimes experienced a pretty big difference between what is supposed to happen and what really happens with government programs. So, let’s review five potential benefits of this program and whether they really make a difference with importers at the actual Ports of Entry.
Five potential benefits of the C-TPAT program:
- Reduction in Customs Inspections
- Front of the Line Privileges (if a Customs Exam Happens)
- Faster Business Resumption (in the event of natural disaster or act of terrorism)
- ISF Penalty Mitigation