In the wake of the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) has been an important tool supporting the nation’s efforts to secure the global supply chain while facilitating the secure and efficient flow of legitimate cargo.
Launched in November 2001, C-TPAT is a voluntary program in which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials work with private companies to review the security of their supply chains and improve the security of their shipments to the United States. In return, C-TPAT partners receive various incentives, such as reduced scrutiny of their shipments.
C-TPAT has seen tremendous growth over the years, starting with just a few importers in 2001. Today, there are more than 10,000 certified companies. Now over a decade old, however, C-TPAT has come under scrutiny in recent years for flat lining in terms of growth and benefits.
David Cohen, a recognized cargo security expert who formerly served as chief of staff to the CBP commissioner, told Homeland Security Today the enthusiasm that initially propelled the initiative has gradually begun to dissipate over the years.
“The initial momentum behind the success of the C-TPAT program had everything to do with the dynamic time in which it was conceived,” Cohen said. “Everyone, and every company, was committed to do their part in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Participation in C-TPAT literally meant a company was doing its part to help our nation in the global war against terrorism.”
Read the complete report here in the current issue of Homeland Security Today.