Third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) may not be eligible to participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), but they now can take part in a comparable program. In October, the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) announced that it had created a C-TPAT compliance program for third-party warehouses. IWLA says its program is based on the group's own Security Best Practices Guidelines, which have been recognized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as meeting C-TPAT criteria. 3PLs can use the guidelines to demonstrate their compliance with C-TPAT standards to supply chain partners.
C-TPAT is a voluntary government-industry partnership administered by CBP. Under the program, companies agree to submit extensive documentation on their supply chain security practices in exchange for the preferential treatment of their import cargo at the port of entry. Currently, CBP limits participation to importers, carriers, port operators, and brokers. It does not allow thirdparty warehouses to participate directly in the C-TPAT program.
"We were not content to sit back and wait for CBP to allow our industry to become C-TPAT certified partners," said Joel Anderson, IWLA's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "Instead, after extensive discussions with CBP, IWLA decided not only to design a set of rigorous standards, but to take it to the next level by providing for third-party verification to gauge compliance."
Anderson made it clear that it won't be easy to gain certification. IWLA has hired supply chain security firm Danbee Investigations to conduct a detailed verification process, including an on-site facility audit, for each IWLA member company seeking to demonstrate compliance with C-TPAT requirements. "This is the gold standard," he said. "Supply chain security is just that important to our member companies."