A Message From CTPAT Director Manuel A. Garza March 2021
March 16, 2021
Dear CTPAT Members:
It has been close to five months since my last update on where we are as a program. A cornerstone of our partnership is based on open and consistent communication and to that end, I wanted to provide an update on current program priorities.
First, let me emphasize that we in U.S. Customs and Border Protection fully understand the tremendous challenges over the last 12 months as a result of the COVID 19 global pandemic. Together we have adapted to these trying times and we thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to the program.
Results of the CTPAT University of Houston Study Coming Soon!
As part of our commitment to continually strengthen the program, CTPAT collaborated with the University of Houston to conduct an in-depth assessment to gauge members’ perceptions regarding the benefits of the program, motivations for participation, and areas for program improvement. The primary goals of this latest survey are to identify trouble areas in need of improvement, identify cost-benefit enhancements for industry members, and establish new or build upon existing program performance metrics. The assessment covered issues such as the CTPAT validation process, the updated minimum-security criteria, and the CTPAT Trade Compliance program.
The survey was conducted virtually and both program staff and CTPAT Members were asked to voluntarily respond to it. The survey received a 33% response rate, including thousands of free text responses on perceptions of the program. A special thanks to those who took the time to respond with your feedback. This program was co-created with the trade community and we will continue to improve with your input and support.
The study concluded just a few days ago, and the University of Houston is currently preparing the final report which should be published later this summer. Preliminary findings show that more than half of the respondents said CTPAT membership benefits outweigh the cost of program participation, a finding which was measurably higher than the program assessment conducted in 2007.
As Director, I am committed to establishing an internal task force to align with the mission of the CTPAT program. This task force will review findings, develop action plans, and make recommendations for overall program improvement.
Virtual Validations Continue!
As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, CTPAT successfully completed a virtual validation pilot process during the second half of 2020. The program used a risk-based approach to identify companies eligible for a CTPAT virtual validation. In 2020, CTPAT conducted a total of 140 virtual validations, with 61 virtual validations conducted this calendar year.
CTPAT will continue to identify opportunities to refine, standardize, and scale the virtual validation process. Due to the mandated telework, CTPAT will continue to conduct virtual validations for select Members in the foreseeable future. In-person validations will commence once the threats of the current pandemic have been mitigated and CTPAT staff is given the green light to resume our traditional validation work.
CTPAT Portal - Security Profile Updates
As it has always been the case, CTPAT Members were notified of the annual requirement to update their security profiles in the CTPAT Portal 90 days prior to the CTPAT account’s anniversary day.
Currently, the program is roughly at a 79% response rate from Members that are required to provide an updated security profile encompassing the new minimum-security criteria.
For those Members that have responded, the new security profile approval rate is currently around 80%. Some members reported initial delay of completing the security profile but once started, completion time was less than expected. The program’s Supply Chain Security Specialists (SCSS) have been extensively engaged in providing guidance and support to the partnership with the security profile process. I strongly encourage you to reach out to your assigned SCSS should assistance be needed.
CTPAT has extended a great deal of leeway and consideration in working with the partnership during the exceptional challenges of the past year. The program has been in the continued process of granting Members extensions at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals. Overall, this has provided the membership with the flexibility to meet program requirements while adapting to changing circumstances.
However, it is of concern that approximately 21% of accounts required to provide a new security profile have not done so or, in many cases, are now overdue. It is incumbent upon me to again relay that Members who fail to complete their security profiles may be suspended or removed from the program for failure to meet this critical CTPAT annual requirement.
If you have CTPAT issues or questions, you may reach out to your assigned SCSS/office manager or contact one of the six CTPAT Field Offices by email at:
Buffalo, New York email@example.com
Houston, Texas firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles, California email@example.com
Miami, Florida firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, New York email@example.com
Newark, New Jersey firstname.lastname@example.org
Please stay safe and healthy and we will get through this together. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to the CTPAT program.
Manuel A. Garza, Jr.
Office of Field Operations
November 6, 2020
Dear CTPAT Members:
I wanted to provide you with an update as to what my staff and I have been doing over the last few months as we continue to work remotely due to the current global pandemic.
I would like to first convey to you that we in CBP fully understand the strain that many of you are undergoing. The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed supply chains worldwide. In turn, many partners have withdrawn or plan to withdraw from the program. I am certain that there will be changes to the way global supply chains operate in the future once we emerge from the aftershocks of the pandemic, so it is more important now than ever that we continue to communicate with the membership.
Due to the worldwide pandemic conditions, it was necessary to defer all remaining 2020 on-site validations. I wish to make it clear that CTPAT remains committed to on-site validation visits and it is the expectation that the program will resume normal operating procedures once conditions permit.
In the interim, and in furtherance of working to maximize the health and safety of our employees and partners, the program worked diligently to explore alternative approaches to the validation process. Following the successful completion of a CTPAT virtual validation test, the program intends to move forward in utilizing a virtual validation platform to be able to validate CTPAT partners. The program employed a risk based approach to identify eligible partner companies to participate in this virtual validation process.
As per our long standing program policy, partners have been notified of the annual requirement to update their security profiles 90 days prior to the CTPAT account’s anniversary day.
In most of the cases where extensions for the completion of the security profile were granted, Partners admitted that they had delayed the start of this administrative process. Yet, upon having completed the process, most partners reported that the experience from start to finish took far less time than anticipated. Extensions have been requested and granted on a case by case basis. CTPAT would like for all partners to do the best they can in answering the security profile and submitting it. Supply Chain Security Specialists (SCSS) will review and assist the partner as best they can.
The program remains fully committed to supporting the membership, particularly now when it is so vitally needed. Where partners may be in need of assistance in meeting program requirements, I strongly encourage reaching out to your SCSS to discuss potential options. Should your company be due for a CTPAT revalidation this year, your assigned SCSS may also contact you in the near future.
I also would like to remind Members that the program has developed a lot of training and outreach material –such as the most recent CTPAT Alerts on topics related to cyber security and on the need for companies to have a Code of Conduct in place. Use these training materials, which are located in the Public Documents/Public Library section of the CTPAT Portal, to train and provide outreach to your own personnel and business partners. Additionally, several CTPAT videos have been uploaded to the CBP YouTube channel as additional training support resources.
A few other items for consideration:
Please keep us informed of any issues that may significantly impact or compromise the reliability of your company’s supply chain, including notifying your SCSS of any security breaches or incidents. Examine your company’s risk assessment and business continuity plan to determine if adjustments need to be made to address the current trade environment.
Visit https://imports.cbp.gov/ for additional information and guidance on CBP COVID-19 relief efforts.
If you are a CTPAT Trade Compliance Member, please continue to communicate with your National Account Manager (NAM). For assistance regarding the CTPAT Trade Compliance portal transition for current ISA members, please feel free to send an email to email@example.com.
Lastly, CTPAT continues to work with the University of Houston as they conduct an in-depth assessment of the CTPAT Program. The primary goals of this project are to identify trouble areas in need of improvement, better understand the program’s successful accomplishments and build upon them in the future, identify cost-benefit enhancements for industry members and for the CTPAT Program, and establish new or build upon existing program performance metrics. To accomplish this, the University of Houston is conducting a broad survey of CTPAT. Result of the survey will be released to the trade during the summer of 2021.
As always, we thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to the CTPAT program.
Please stay safe and healthy,
Manuel A. Garza, Jr.
Cargo and Conveyance Security
Office of Field Operations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection