C-TPAT Benefits

Why Companies Join C-TPAT

Reduced CBP Inspections

Expedite processing and reduce the number of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) inspections and audits of cargo entering the U.S. from overseas. This reduces the risk of cancelled orders by customers. Below are the CBP-issued statistics for 2008.

Fewer Inspections  (2008 CBP Statistics)

Ocean Containers Inspected:

1 out of every 11 non-C-TPAT members
1 out of every 55 C-TPAT members

83% were non-C-TPAT members.
17% were C-TPAT members.

8.50% – Tier 1 (certified) C-TPAT members
4.93% – Tier 2 (validated) C-TPAT members
3.57% – Tier 3 C-TPAT members

Truck Inspections:

1 out of every 1.4 non-C-TPAT members
1 out of every 6.5 C-TPAT members

Up to 50% Off Penalty Fines Associated with ISF (10+2)

On January 26, 2009, CBP committed to a one year delayed enforcement period with regards to the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Program and the Additional Carrier Requirements, also known as “10 + 2”. In January 2010, CBP will begin to enforce the penalties associated with this program.

CBP has issued guidelines that the agency will follow in determining penalties for importers who violate the ISF.  Listed below are four violations subject to penalties.

  • Failure to file.  This is the most serious violation, subject to the most severe level of potential penalties.
  • Late filing.  The Interim Final Rule requires the importer to file the ISF no later than 24 hours prior to lading at foreign origin.
  • Inaccurate filing.  Providing incorrect data, both in an initial filing, but may also apply in subsequent filings (e.g., amended ISF).
  • Failure to withdraw a filing.  Withdrawal of an ISF that is known to be invalid is required.  An invalid ISF includes an order that has been cancelled, discovery of significant change in information necessitating a new ISF, a complete change in routing, or other substantive change.

Each one of the above-listed violations is potentially subject to $5,000.00 in liquidated damages.  A single ISF could have more than one violation, and therefore, more than one penalty applied.  For instance, an importer can violate both the late-filing rule and the inaccurate-information rule.  This importer would be subject to a $10,000.00 penalty for the incorrect ISF.

On July 15, 2009, CBP announced that C-TPAT members will be eligible for additional mitigation (up to 50%) of the normal mitigation amount. Based upon the projected CBP penalty fee structure, this benefit can result in significant savings to your company.

Expedited Status for CES Container Inspections

On July 7, 2009, CBP announced that it will give importers that are C-TPAT members, the benefit of expeditious completion of CBP-mandated cargo examinations. Specifically; containers consigned to a C-TPAT importer that are designated for drayage to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) for a CBP Enforcement, Trade, or Agriculture (USDA) examination, will clearly be designated as “C-TPAT Priority.” The benefit of this initiative, is that “C-TPAT Priority” cargo will be examined before non-C-TPAT designated containerized cargo. 

Eligibility to do business with new or existing customers

Many companies have mandated that their current and future vendors join the C-TPAT program.  C-TPAT members have the ability to continue doing business with existing customers and are eligible to do business with certain prospective customers.

Preferential Status on Customs Issues

CBP will place a C-TPAT member in a preferential status when the C-TPAT member is working with customs officials on conventional customs’ issues such as duties, tariffs, country of origin matters and focus assessments.

CBP Liaison is Assigned to Your Company

CBP assigns the C-TPAT member a Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) who the C-TPAT member contacts in the event of delays of cargo arrival into the U.S. A SCSS liaison is not available to non C-TPAT members.

Expedited Entry for FDA Cargo

FDA will expedite entry for specific finished drug products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) intended for human use imported into the United States. 

Mitigation Guidlines – Cargo Security

Airlines and Steamship Lines: CBP indicates that, before any penalty assessments are made, consideration may be given to the level of cooperation received regarding cargo security from the party to be charged. Specifically, the fines, penalties and forfeitures officer (FPFO) may consider whether the party is a participant in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and weigh the level of cooperation received regarding cargo security as a mitigating factor in any case. The FPFO will exercise the discretion to mitigate a second or subsequent violation as a first violation in the case of a penalty assessed against a cooperating party. This has resulted in significant savings to the company requesting mitigation.