The United States has formed a number of security partnerships with other nations since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and those agreements have played an important role in securing international supply chains for both inbound and outbound shipments.
“CBP must work in partnerships to be effective,” Todd Owen, director of the Office of Field Operations in Los Angeles, told the West Coast Trade Symposium sponsored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week in Long Beach.
Security initiatives developed in the U.S. have been copied to one degree or another by customs organizations in other countries, and therefore the effort to secure international supply chains is becoming global in nature.
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, which was implemented in 2002, is probably the most-duplicated security program of the past decade. Canada, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Korea and, most recently, the European Union, have developed similar programs.
Under C-TPAT, companies follow CBP guidelines for securing their supply chains going back to the origin of the cargo. Customs validates the security of the operations. C-TPAT now has 7,200 member companies.
Being a member of the program is one of the criteria Customs uses to designate a company as a “trusted partner,” a status that normally results in fewer cargo inspections and expedited treatment of shipments.
The Container Security Initiative, in which Customs representatives have been posted overseas, allows for the inspection of suspicious shipments before they are loaded on to a vessel. CSI has also spawned similar security programs in other countries.
Two programs that require shippers to transmit pre-departure data on shipments — the 24 hour advance-manifest filing rule for ocean shipments, and the Air Cargo Advance Screening Pilot Strategic Plan — have likewise established models being considered by other customs agencies, Owen said.
The key to all of these programs is that they require support from the private sector and from overseas governments. As participation spreads, the movement of both imports and exports should become more seamless and delays at ports of entry and exit will be reduced for shippers who demonstrate that they have secured their supply chains, Owen said.