• ITVI.USA
    15,868.670
    8.820
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.774
    0.001
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.470
    0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,873.680
    8.980
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,868.670
    8.820
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.774
    0.001
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.470
    0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,873.680
    8.980
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
American Shipper

A fresh start for CTPAT?

According to Liz Schmelzinger, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) director of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), it’s on her team to deliver benefits and educate participants about the important trade program.

   The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) has almost become a dirty word among shippers who have participated in the program.
   The primary complaint from shippers is that the benefits of the programs never matched the cost to comply. It’s a well-worn argument against a program so old it actually predates the formation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency that now oversees the trusted trader program.
   Yet CBP has spent the last two years trying to revitalize the program, by overhauling the benefits, revamping the online portal and focusing on educating members and non-members alike.
   Liz Schmelzinger, director of CTPAT within CBP, told the the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT) Northeast Trade Symposium Thursday that the tenor of the program has changed substantially since its inception.
   Whereas CTPAT was initially formed in response to the Sept. 11 terror attack as a way for U.S. companies to show they were interested in securing the nation, the program is now also more focused on new opportunities, like providing participants with harmonization with authorized economic operator programs abroad.
   Schmelzinger said the first priority of CTPAT will always be security, but it’s also a chance for companies to take better stock of their own supply chain.
   “As you do this process, you’re learning about your supply chain,” she said in response to a question about whether it’s worth it for importers – from a financial and human resource perspective – to participate in the program. “That’s invaluable, that process. There are a lot of consultants out there that make a lot of money filling out that profile for their clients, and we do it for free.
   “The trade is very reluctant to give us numbers about cost,” she said. “So we have to get an economist to give us cost estimates. There is a cost to join program. But you immediately reap benefit of knowing what you didn’t know was out there. I’ve pledged to keep it reasonable. The cost-benefit analysis will never be a perfect science, but we’ve asked trade to help us figure it out.”
   Among other updates, Schmelzinger said the CTPAT online portal is vastly improved, though not at the finish line yet. She also said participants should think of the program as a chance to constantly improve.
   “There are ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds,’” she said. “You’ll never be thrown out of the program for not doing a ‘should,’ but it’s our obligation to educate, to keep them motivated and energized and making constant evaluations of their supply chain so they get better at it as they go along.”
   She pointed to a recent pilot project for the updated program. Fifty-six companies applied, nine were accepted into the pilot, but only seven made it through. But that doesn’t mean those two firms are permanently excluded from CTPAT, Schmelzinger said.
   “If we’re not helping you get it right, then something’s not right,” she said.
   One more immediate update to the program is that the acronym no longer includes a hyphen, having officially been shortened to CTPAT. Importers will surely be hoping the benefits to them are similarly streamlined.

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