What is CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)?

Definition of CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)

International TradeCTPAT is a voluntary logistics and supply chain partnership program led by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) with the goal of improving the security of the United States borders.

The CTPAT certification is voluntary public-private sector program that ties in the principal stakeholders of international trade, which would include importers of record, carriers, consolidators and manufacturers.

CTPAT acts as a “multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy” to account for potential breaches in security, as prodcut is imported into the US by having applicants outline those parties involved in shipping their product from the country of origin into its facility.

Top 5 Benefits to Being CTPAT Certified


  • Less Friction at the Border
    • Priority Clearance
    • Fewer CBP Inspections
    • Access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at Mexico and Canada Border
  • Priority Following an Emergency
    • CTPAT Importers Are 1st to Resume Business Following an Emergency
  • Lower Fines
  • Increases Business
    • Often Companies Require Their Providers to be CTPAT Certified
  • Improved Processes
    • Forces Companies to be More Formalized in Their Processes Resulting in Better Results

The above benefits will prove to be more valuable than ever as tensions rise between the United States and other major world trade countries making it more expensive and risky.

CTPAT was recently updated its terms for earning certification in the wake of unethical conduct from corporations for the first time in 18 years.

Updates to CTPAT Include

  • CTPAT International Trade Increased cybersecurity protocol.
  • Increased prevention of “agricultural contaminants and pests” exposure.
  • Protection against money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Proper utilization of security management system.

While CTPAT is a completely voluntary option for importers, it continues to be more of a requirement for importers. Smaller firms struggle to hold onto business if they are not CTPAT certified.

Apply to become certified starts by filling out the online application on the CBP site.

For more on how to improve your supply chain:

  • IPI Freight Definition and Best Practices
  • Nearshoring Defined & Top 10 Benefits
  • Incoterms Defined in 100 Words
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Comprehensive Guide
  • Supply Chain Cost Saving Guide

To learn more about Intek Freight & Logistics and the logistics industry, we invite you to visit our website and subscribe to our weekly blogs.

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