Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) – Definition

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Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Definition

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a security program that was launched to protect the supply-chain private companies from the impacts of terrorism. C-TPAT is overseen by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a U.S based agency. When C-TPAT was launched in 2001, it had seven participants which were large companies in the United States before its membership significantly increased.

A Little More on What Is A Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

The initial participants or members of C-TPAT were seven large U.S companies, however, as of 2014, the membership strength of C-TPAT was 10,854, or of which were 4,315 importers. For companies to become recognized members of C-TPAT, they must have earned a certification. Before certification is issued, the ability of the companies to identify and mitigate risks in their supply chain, especially risks pertaining to terrorism is examined. Companies who are certified to be of low risk after thorough examination are given C-TPAT certification.

Types of participants in C-TPAT

The membership of C-TPAT include the following participants;

Manufacturers in Canada and Mexico, Exporters, U. S Importers, U.S marine Port authorities, terminal operators, Licensed customs brokers, Invited foreign manufacturers and businesses, brokers and agents, Mexican long-haul carriers, sea, air and railway carriers, freight consolidators, third-party logistics providers and negotiation firms or companies.

C-TPAT partner benefits

Participants of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) enjoy the following benefits:

  • They are eligible to attend seminars and trainings organized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • The hold Key positions in combating terrorism and promoting good corporate citizenship.
  • The participants are assigned a supply chain security consultant and analyst.
  • The can participate in self-assessment programs organized by CBP.
  • They are entitled to a certain number of supply-chain inspections done by CBP.
  • Access to information on mitigating risk and improving the security of companies’ supply chains with regard to terrorism.

Primarily, C-TPAT seeks to improve the security of international supply chains of all participating companies. This can be achieved without compounding more work for these companies, with the appropriate technology, risk analysis model, data collection, organization and analysis, the goal of C-TPAT can be achieved. There are continuous efforts from CBP and the U.S Senators to advance bills that will improve the level of security the participants derive from C-TPAT.

Trusted Trader Program

Trusted traders is a term that describes businesses, firms and companies that have met the minimum security standards and ethical practices outlined by the customs administrations. The term ‘trusted traders’ is widely accepted at the international level.

The CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are agencies in North America that offer programs such as C-TPAT, Partners In Protection (PIP), and others for ‘trusted traders.’

Generally, the trusted trader program seeks to ensure that these traders are complaint to certain security requirements that help them improve their supply chain. Trusted traders enjoy the benefits of C-TPAT and  PIP as these programs improve their supply chain efficiency.

References for Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

Academic Research on Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A voluntary logistics security program and international supply chain partnership, Sheu, C., Lee, L., & Niehoff, B. (2006). Supply chain management: An international journal, 11(4), 363-374. This paper uses case study methods of secondary data research to gather information from 5 companies, i.e. 1 custom broker, 3 importers, 1 transporter or freight forwarder at multiple positions of the supply chain. The authors design a protocol to conduct the interviews and collect data. They performed data analysis at 3 levels: within the case, cross-case and expert analysis. The findings are that there is a significant effect of the C-TPAT program on the global trade community. The findings suggest that it is a source instead of an end and its present value of logistic security is unclear because of inconsistent practices of supplier engagement. The global supply chain security is at an infant stage and has several problems to resolve before it forms a complete collaborative system.

  • Robust strategies for mitigating supply chain disruptions, Tang, C. S. (2006). International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 9(1), 33-45. During the period of disruptions, many of the supply chains breakdown and their recovery takes time. However, they can smoothly continue functioning and keep satisfying their customers. This paper presents robust strategies having 2 qualities. First, they help a supply chain in efficiently managing the fluctuations whatever the disruptions are. Secondly, they make supply chains more resilient during the major disruptions. Implementation of these strategies incur a cost, but before and after the major disruptions, they provide extra selling points for obtaining apprehensive customers.
  • The impact of port and trade security initiatives on maritime supply-chain management, Banomyong*, R. (2005). Maritime Policy & Management, 32(1), 3-13. The basic purpose of the CSI (Container Security Initiative) is engaging national governments where the location of these ports is such that it assists the outbound containers prescreening destined to the United States and mega-ports (Ports which send the highest shipping container volume into the United States). Security is an obvious part of the supply chain paradigm while it may also act as a trade facilitation driver. The author discusses the effects of the CSI of the United States in maritime supply chains. First, he explains the supply chain and security issue and then, explores CSI and its effect while investigating a few security-initiative financing implications.
  • The changing role of customs: evolution or revolution, Widdowson, D. (2007). World Customs Journal, 1(1), 31-37. It is the responsibility of the Customs to implement border management strategies mostly on the part of other state agencies. However, nowadays, the role of customs has significantly changed and what may show the main business for 1 administration may be out of the scope of responsibility. It reflects the changing atmosphere where customs authorities work and the changes in state priorities. The WTO (World Trade Organization), WCO (World Customs Organization) and other global entities are reacting through the progress in international standards that specify the changing behaviour of border management.
  • Five tenets of security-aware logistics and supply chain operation, Russell, D. M., & Saldanha, J. P. (2003). Transportation Journal, 44-54. One negative impact of new security measures to overcome terrorist threats is that the US economy will bear 151 billion US dollars extra cost yearly, out of which 65 billion US dollars will be allocated for logistic supply chains changes, i.e. the supply chains and logistics management professionals will have to learn new practices that reduce such costs while making sure that the environment remains safe and efficient. The authors provide 5 logistics operations tenets for the new environment. They draw these tenets from a brief supply chains disruptions in the consequent of terrorist attacks. Finally, they consider government initiatives for the business plans of logistics professionals.
  • Assurance of security in maritime supply chains: Conceptual issues of vulnerability and crisis management, Barnes, P., & Oloruntoba, R. (2005). Journal of International Management, 11(4), 519-540. Security assurance is a crucial factor for global business managers across maritime tradings and in the development of global trade, as usual. Many initiatives are yet to be implemented which emphasize on security issues in ships and ports, i.e. International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPSC) and the total outcomes of supply chains, means Customs and Trade Partnership against Terrorism (CTPT). The major objective of this initiative is to minimize maritime vectored terrorism. There create vulnerabilities due to complex interactions between supply chains, ports and maritime operations. Ultimately, it needs to evaluate the security initiatives goodness-of-fit against competition and business efficiency.
  • Institutional perspective on the adoption of technology for the security enhancement of container transport, Lun, Y. V., Wong, C. W., Lai, K. H., & Cheng, T. C. E. (2008). Transport Reviews, 28(1), 21-33. This article reviews the implications of various institutional isomorphisms, named as coercion, norms and mimesis from the perspective of institutions which take the initiative for the technology adoption for the security enhancement of container transport and the ones which follow other institutions in adopting the technology. The possible effects can assist the managers in understanding the organizational pressures in a better way and the pressures that take them to adapt to the chain partners of container transport, particularly, the possible issues and compliance needs they may come across while adopting technology for increasing the security of container transport.
  • Public–private partnerships and supply chain security: CTPAT as an indicator of relational security, Voss, M. D., & Williams, Z. (2013). CTPAT as an indicator of relational security. Journal of Business Logistics, 34(4), 320-334. Government and private entities felt a need for protecting the international supply chain from the disruption of terrorists after the 11/9 attacks. In response, the government of the United States became a partner of the industry to form a C-TPAT Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program. This paper examines the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) relational prospects of C-TPAT, which encourages companies to make their own and their supply chain partners security competence better. The authors elaborate the relational security in the PPPs context. They define it as all those activities which establish, maintain and cultivate successful exchanges of security between parties. They describe C-TPAT as a relational security indicator.
  • The Genesis of the US CTPAT Program: Lessons Learned and Earned by the Government and Trade.’, Laden, M. D. (2007). World Customs Journal, 1(2), 75-80. The Customs of the 6 main member states of the EEC (European Economic Union), in 1968, were already harmonized such that the customs to be paid by 3rd countries might be applied based on the common customs tariff. As levying customs duties on traded items was not allowed between member countries, there was a customs tariff Union before the EIM (European Internal Market) was established. The EEC treaty already needed harmonized custom laws other than tariffs. The CC (Community Customs Code) and the rules introduced a uniform law, in 1994. Today, it is a foundation to maintain uniformity in custom orders of twenty-seven countries.
  • Supply chain security: an overview and research agenda, Williams, Z., Lueg, J. E., & LeMay, S. A. (2008). The International Journal of Logistics Management, 19(2), 254-281. The authors review the Supply Chain Security (SCS) and categorize the research done so far, including white papers, academic publications and practitioners periodicals. They specify the research gaps with the help of this categorization. The findings of the analysis are that Supply Chain Security requires more attention of the researchers. It was basically a normative analysis on the basis of primary data. The categories of approaches are inter-organizational, intra-organizational, a combination of both and ignore. Finally, the authors present a focused agenda for primary future statistical research on supply chains security. They state how to implement these categories, practically.
  • Port and maritime security: background and issues for congress, Frittelli, J. (2008). Port and Maritime Security, 11. The 11/9 attacks spread awareness about the terrorist attacks vulnerability of all the means of transportation. Port security is an emergent part of the debate on homeland security in the United States. The overarching problems for Congress provide insight into present port security plans and suggesting improved security on ports. The maritime system in the United States contains above three hundred seaports and river ports with above 3700 passenger and cargo terminals. Container ships are the focus of seaport security as they are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Above nine million marine containers enter the United States ports every year. The CBP (Cargo & Border Protection) checks cargo to target particular shipments for thorough inspection.

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