The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) continues to gain ground. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the program, recently announced that membership has grown to just under 7,000 companies since the program began in 2003. C-TPAT is a voluntary government-industry partnership in which companies agree to submit extensive documentation on their supply chain security practices in exchange for preferential treatment of their import cargo at ports of entry.
CBP conducted 3,011 validations in 2007, a 27-percent increase from 2006. Last year marked the first time the agency re-verified supply chains it had previously evaluated; about 20 percent of last year's efforts were re-validations. In addition, CBP certified 2,601 new C-TPAT members and granted Tier III status to 17 companies. Tier III is the highest level of C-TPAT participation. It is granted to companies that exceed the minimum standards and have adopted best practices, such as using certain types of container-security devices.
CBP takes the validation process seriously. Based on its findings during validation exercises, the agency temporarily suspended or removed 112 companies from the program for security breaches or failure to meet C-TPAT's minimum criteria. Of those, 47 were conditionally or fully reinstated after they took corrective action.