A Message From CTPAT Director Manuel A. Garza November 2020
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 In turn, many partners have withdrawn or plan to withdraw from the program.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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