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C-TPAT Certification

C-TPAT Certification

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), is a joint initiative of the U.S. government and companies whose purpose is to build commercial cooperation relationships to strengthen and improve the business value chain and security at the border of the United States of America.


The origin of the program dates from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, especially on the Twin Towers in New York City, United States of America.

It’s a program designed to protect the cargo containers against the acts of terrorist.

The C-TPAT program creates a bridge of connection between the exporters and importers for the compliance with the improvements of security practices at each level of the chain of supplies. The program´s members benefit from a faster crossing through the border and the reductions of customs inspections.

Business that apply for the C-TPAT membership 

  • Highway Carriers
  • Marine Port Authority and Terminal Operators
  • Sea Carriers
  • Air Carriers
  • Custom Brokers
  • Exporters and Importers
  • Foreign Manufacturers
  • Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)


To obtain the C-TPAT certification, the company must review its internal security supply chain of their facilities, offices and operations, this also includes checking the supply chain from where it begins till the final customer in the U.S., including agents, carriers, and the rest that are involved in the company´s logistic chain.

The procedures must be written and with a verifiable process.

Defined Standards

The C-TPAT certification is based on the safety of the following twelve Minimum Criteria:

  • Security Vision and Responsibility (New)
  • Risk Assessment
  • Business Partner Security
  • Cybersecurity (New)
  • Conveyance and Instruments of International Traffic Security
  • Seal Security
  • Procedural Security
  • Agricultural Security (New)
  • Physical Access Controls
  • Physical Security
  • Personnel Security
  • Education, Training, and Awareness

The purpose and the scope of the standards is to define the necessary guidelines, in order to reinforce the security in the business value chain.

Minimum Security Criteria

  • Security Business Associates Requirements.
  • Security procedures.
  • Physical security of the company.
  • Vehicle security.
  • Safety of containers and trailers.
  • Seals on containers.
  • Fractional cargo.
  • Physical access controls of unauthorized entrances to the company.
  • Identification of employees.
  • Processes for the safety of personnel.
  • Security measures in the processes.
  • Technology security.

C-TPAT Benefits 

  • Drug trafficking and terrorism preventions.
  • Opening, expansion and business continuity in México, and with the U.S.
  • Structure in Patrimonial Security processes.
  • Systematic operations.
  • Higher quality in customer delivery (efficiency in the business value chain).
  • Economic and time benefit in terrestrial transportation.
  • Increases the reliability of shipments and at the same time mitigates the possibility of damage to the national and international public image in the event of an incident.
  • An increment of customers.
  • Establishment of security procedures where they didn´t exist.
  • Capability for the business to carry out self-evaluations of security processes.
  • Decreases of disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Decreases the risk of cargo theft and damage.
  • Focuses more on employees on security processes.
  • Streamlining in customs clearance.
  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  • Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
  • Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States
  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack

Considering as a convenience factor only the legal benefits that would be received is too simple and unjustifiable in an environment where security in the supply chain becomes increasingly important, accessing a business insurance that enables faster trade flows is essential for companies, therefore, its business partners must become aware of the relevance of being insurance in their processes, rather than in the benefits they could receive, finally,

Is not the greatest benefit to continue doing business?

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A. General Procedure to obtain C-TPAT Certification.

  • Integral Training
  • Initial diagnostic: Perform an analysis of compliance, the C-TPAT minimum security criteria and a physical inspection.
  • Issuance of preliminary recommendations.

B. Specific Procedure for obtaining the Certification-Validation C-PAT.

1. An analysis is necessary to identify the requirements foreseen to request the C-TPAT certification;
2. Advice for obtaining the necessary requirements for each Certification rubric;
3. Review and evaluation of the current processes and procedures of the company in order to identify, create and/or modify (if necessary) to satisfy the C-TPAT Minimum Security Criteria;
4. Create a work plan to meet the ¨C-TPAT Minimum Security Criteria¨,
5. Complementation and the filling of the ¨Company´s Security Profile¨ in electronic C-TPAT Portal.
6. Continues monitoring and follow-ups of the application with CBP until it is approved as ¨C-TPAT Level 1 Certified Company¨;
7. Attention and support in the official validation visit to the company by the CBP security specialist;
8. Assistance in the responses and the compliance with the recommendations that may arise on the validation visit;

 Competitiveness is the key element to be part of the market.