C-TPAT / ISO 17712
  • C-TPAT is a joint government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen overall supply chain and border security.
  • C-TPAT recognizes that Customs can provide the highest level of security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the supply chain— importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators and manufacturers.
  • Through this initiative, Customs is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate their security guidelines to their business partners within the supply chain.



These minimum security criteria are fundamentally designed to be the building blocks for foreign manufacturers to institute effective security practices designed to optimize supply chain performance to mitigate the risk of loss, theft, and contraband smuggling that could potentially introduce terrorists and implements of terrorism into the global supply chain. The determination and scope of criminal elements targeting world commerce through internal conspiracies requires companies, and in particular, foreign manufacturers to elevate their security practices.

At a minimum, on a yearly basis, or as circumstances dictate such as during periods of heightened alert, security breach or incident, foreign manufacturers must conduct a comprehensive assessment of their international supply chains based upon the following C-TPAT security criteria.

Where a foreign manufacturer out-sources or contracts elements of their supply chain, such as another foreign facility, warehouse, or other elements, the foreign manufacturer must work with these business partners to ensure that pertinent security measures are in place and are adhered to throughout their supply chain.

The supply chain for C-TPAT purposes is defined from point of origin (manufacturer/supplier/vendor) through to point of distribution – and recognizes the diverse business models C-TPAT members employ.

C-TPAT recognizes the complexity of international supply chains and security practices, and endorses the application and implementation of security measures based upon risk1.

Therefore, the program allows for flexibility and the customization of security plans based on the member’s business model.

Appropriate security measures, as listed throughout this document, must be implemented and maintained throughout the Foreign manufacturer’s supply chains - based on risk2.

Business Partner Requirement

Foreign manufacturers must have written and verifiable processes for the selection of business partners including, carriers, other manufacturers, product suppliers and vendors (parts and raw material suppliers, etc).

Security procedures

For those business partners eligible for C-TPAT certification (carriers, importers, ports, terminals, brokers, consolidators, etc.) the foreign manufacturer must have documentation (e.g., C-TPAT certificate, SVI number, etc.) indicating whether these business partners are or are not C-TPAT certified.

For those business partners not eligible for C-TPAT certification, the foreign manufacturer must require that their business partners to demonstrate that they are meeting C-TPAT security criteria via written/electronic confirmation (e.g., contractual obligations; via a letter from a senior business partner officer attesting to compliance; a written statement from the business partner demonstrating their compliance with C-TPAT security criteria or an equivalent World Customs Organization (WCO) accredited security program administered by a foreign customs authority; or, by providing a completed foreign manufacturer security questionnaire). Based upon a documented risk assessment process, non-C-TPAT eligible business partners must be subject to verification of compliance with C-TPAT security criteria by the foreign manufacturer.

Point of Origin

Foreign manufacturers must ensure that business partners develop security processes and procedures consistent with the C-TPAT security criteria to enhance the integrity of the shipment at point of origin, assembly or manufacturing. Periodic reviews of business partners’ processes and facilities should be conducted based on risk, and should maintain the security standards required by the foreign manufacturer.

Participation/Certification in a Foreign Customs Administration Supply Chain Security Program Current or prospective business partners who have obtained a certification in a supply chain security program being administered by foreign Customs Administration should be required to indicate their status of participation to the foreign manufacturer.

Security Procedures

On U.S. bound shipments, foreign manufacturers should monitor that C-TPAT carriers that subcontract transportation services to other carriers use other C-TPAT approved carriers, or non-C-TPAT carriers that are meeting the C-TPAT security criteria as outlined in the business partner requirements.

As the foreign manufacturer is responsible for loading trailers and containers, they should work with the carrier to provide reassurance that there are effective security procedures and controls implemented at the point-of-stuffing.

Container and Trailer Security

Container and trailer integrity must be maintained to protect against the introduction of unauthorized material and/or persons.

At the point-of-stuffing, procedures must be in place to properly seal and maintain the integrity of the shipping containers and trailers.

A high security seal must be affixed to all loaded containers and trailers bound for the U.S. All seals must meet or exceed the current PAS ISO 17712 standard for high security seals.

In those geographic areas where risk assessments warrant checking containers or trailers for human concealment or smuggling, such procedures should be designed to address this risk at the manufacturing facility or point-of-stuffing.

Container Inspection

Procedures must be in place to verify the physical integrity of the container structure prior to stuffing, to include the reliability of the locking mechanisms of the doors.

A seven-point inspection process is recommended for all containers:

Front wall

Left side

Right side



Inside/outside doors


Trailer Inspection

Procedures must be in place to verify the physical integrity of the trailer structure prior to stuffing, to include the reliability of the locking mechanisms of the doors.

The following five-point inspection process is recommended for all trailers:

Fifth wheel area - check natural compartment/skid plate

Exterior - front/sides

Rear - bumper/doors

Front wall

Left side

Container and Trailer Seals

The sealing of trailers and containers, to include continuous seal integrity, are crucial elements of a secure supply chain, and remains a critical part of a foreign manufacturers’ commitment to C-TPAT. The foreign manufacturer must affix a high security seal to all loaded trailers and containers bound for the U.S.

All seals must meet or exceed the current PAS ISO 17712 standards for high security seals.

Written procedures must stipulate how seals are to be controlled and affixed to loaded containers and trailers, to include procedures for recognizing and reporting compromised seals and/or containers/trailers to US Customs and Border Protection or the appropriate foreign authority. Only designated employees should distribute seals for integrity purposes.

Container and Trailer Storage

Containers and trailers under foreign manufacturer control or located in a facility of the foreign manufacturer must be stored in a secure area to prevent

unauthorized access and/or manipulation. Procedures must be in place for reporting and neutralizing unauthorized entry into containers/trailers or container/trailer storage areas.

Physical Access Controls

Access controls prevent unauthorized entry to facilities, maintain control of employees and visitors, and protect company assets.

Access controls must include the positive identification of all employees, visitors, and vendors at all points of entry.


An employee identification system must be in place for positive identification and access control purposes.

Employees should only be given access to those secure areas needed for the performance of their duties. Company management or security personnel must adequately control the issuance and removal of employee, visitor and vendor identification badges. Procedures for the issuance, removal and changing of access devices (e.g. keys, key cards, etc.) must be documented.


Visitors must present photo identification for documentation purposes upon arrival. All visitors should be escorted and should visibly display temporary identification.

Deliveries (including mail)

Proper vendor ID and/or photo identification must be presented for documentation purposes upon arrival by all vendors.

Arriving packages and mail should be periodically screened before being disseminated.

Challenging and Removing Unauthorized Persons

Procedures must be in place to identify, challenge and address unauthorized/unidentified persons.

Personnel Security

Processes must be in place to screen prospective employees and to periodically check current employees.

Pre-Employment Verification

Application information, such as employment history and references must be verified prior to employment.

Background Checks / Investigations

Consistent with foreign regulations, background checks and investigations should be conducted for prospective employees.

Once employed, periodic checks and reinvestigations should be performed based on cause, and/or the sensitivity of the employee’s position.

Personnel Termination Procedures

Companies must have procedures in place to remove identification, facility, and system access for terminated employees.

Procedural Security

Security measures must be in place to ensure the integrity and security of processes relevant to the transportation, handling, and storage of cargo in the supply chain.

Documentation Processing

Procedures must be in place to ensure that all information used in the clearing of merchandise/cargo, is legible, complete, accurate, and protected against the exchange, loss or introduction of erroneous information. Documentation control must include safeguarding computer access and information.

Manifesting Procedures

To help ensure the integrity of cargo, procedures must be in place to ensure that information received from business partners is reported accurately and timely.

Shipping and Receiving

Departing cargo being shipped should be reconciled against information on the cargo manifest. The cargo should be accurately described, and the weights, labels, marks and piece count indicated and verified. Departing cargo should be verified against purchase or delivery orders. Drivers delivering or receiving cargo must be positively identified before cargo is received or released. Procedures should also be established to track the timely movement of incoming and outgoing goods.

Cargo Discrepancies

All shortages, overages, and other significant discrepancies or anomalies must be resolved and/or investigated appropriately. Customs and/or other appropriate law enforcement agencies must be notified if anomalies, illegal or suspicious activities are detected - as appropriate.

Physical Security

Cargo handling and storage facilities in international locations must have physical barriers and deterrents that guard against unauthorized access.

Foreign manufacturer should incorporate the following C-TPAT physical security criteria throughout their supply chains as applicable.


Perimeter fencing should enclose the areas around cargo handling and storage facilities. Interior fencing within a cargo handling structure should be used to segregate domestic, international, high value, and hazardous cargo. All fencing must be regularly inspected for integrity and damage.

The minimum necessary for proper access and safety.

Gates and Gate Houses

Gates through which vehicles and/or personnel enter or exit must be manned and/or monitored. The number of gates should be kept to the minimum necessary for proper access and safety.


Private passenger vehicles should be prohibited from parking in or adjacent to cargo handling and storage areas.

Building Structure

Buildings must be constructed of materials that resist unlawful entry. The integrity of structures must be maintained by periodic inspection and repair.

Locking Devices and Key Controls

All external and internal windows, gates and fences must be secured with locking devices. Management or security personnel must control the issuance of all locks and keys.


Adequate lighting must be provided inside and outside the facility including the following areas: entrances and exits, cargo handling and storage areas, fence lines and parking areas.

Alarms Systems and Video Surveillance Cameras

Alarm systems and video surveillance cameras should be utilized to monitor premises and prevent unauthorized access to cargo handling and storage areas.

Information Technology Security

Password Protection

Automated systems must use individually assigned accounts that require a periodic change of password. IT security policies, procedures and standards must be in place and provided to employees in the form of training.


A system must be in place to identify the abuse of IT including improper access, tampering or the altering of business data.

All system violators must be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions for abuse.

Security Training and Threat Awareness

A threat awareness program should be established and maintained by security personnel to recognize and foster awareness of the threat posed by terrorists and contraband smugglers at each point in the supply chain. Employees must be made aware of the procedures the company has in place to address a situation and how to report it. Additional training should be provided to employees in the shipping and receiving areas, as well as those receiving and opening mail.

Additionally, specific training should be offered to assist employees in maintaining cargo integrity, recognizing internal conspiracies, and protecting access controls.

These programs should offer incentives for active employee participation.

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