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C-TPAT DRIVES SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY AND TRADE COMPLIANCE

C-TPAT

C-TPAT DRIVES SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY AND TRADE COMPLIANCE

In today’s ever-chaining business environment, organizations are faced with ongoing security challenges. It’s crucial for shippers to understand any potential risks to their supply chains and establish security plans to avoid disruption. One significant way for shippers to proactively protect their operations is by becoming a member of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

Established in 2001, as a direct result of the September 11 terror attacks, the C-TPAT program is part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Through this voluntary program, the CBP works with the importers, shippers, carriers, brokers and logistics providers to implement best practices for ensuring a safe, secure and expeditious supply chain. Today, there are more than 11,400 certified C-TPAT partners in the program, and these companies account for more than 52 percent of the products imported into the U.S.

C-TPAT Member Benefits

In addition to promoting supply chain security, participating in the C-TPAT program can yield significant benefits for shippers and transportation providers, including:

Fewer customs inspections – C-TPAT certification offers companies the opportunity to decrease customs inspections and documentation reviews. According to the CBP, C-TPAT members are 3.5 times less likely to incur a security or compliance examination. 

Faster border crossings – Members have access to special Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at border crossings, and can move to the front of the line during inspections. This can significantly expedite border crossings at many Canada/Mexico land border ports.

Quick response time – Following a national emergency, companies participating in the C-TPAT program are eligible to resume business first. 

Enhanced reputation – Participating in a national security program reflects a company’s ongoing commitment to safety. Some companies will only do business with importers that are C-TPAT certified–giving members a competitive edge. 

Cost avoidance – By decreasing potential supply chain disruptions, C-TPAT members can avoid costs associated with delayed shipments. Additionally, organizations penalized in any way is eligible to receive up to a 50 percent reduction on the imposed fine. 

Joining C-TPAT

While almost every organization that is involved in the import and export business can enroll in the C-TPAT program, eligibility requirements vary by business type. But to achieve certification, all companies are required to:

-Conduct a risk assessment

-Implement a supply chain security management system that complies with C-TPAT requirements

-Submit a detailed application

 -Meet with CBP representatives to verify security measures

In addition to obtaining their own certification, organizations can support the C-TPAT program by working with third-party logistics (3PL) providers that are also C-TPAT certified. C-TPAT-certified 3PLs act as an additional layer of protection against supply chain attacks, because they operate as an extension of the company’s established security procedures, essentially building a stronger company brand. 

A 3PL with active participation in the Mexican and Canadian markets also brings a portfolio of carriers and companies that are approved by C-TPAT, or that comply with minimum requirements for C-TPAT partners, essentially giving shippers a competitive advantage. 

Addressing Evolving Supply Chain Risks


As supply chain risk continues to evolve, so too do the C-TPAT requirements. In May, the CBP announced that it has added Minimum-Security Criteria (MSC) requirements to the C-TPAT guidelines to help further mitigate risks. Some of the areas that were incorporated and updated in the program’s new criteria included:

-Issues related to cyber security

-Protection of the supply chain from agricultural contaminants and pests

-Prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing

-The proper use and management of security technology, such as intrusion alarms and security camera systems

-Members are expected to implement the new criteria throughout the remainder of 2019, and validation of the new MSC will begin in early 2020.

Support Supply Chain Safety

With security risks threatening supply chains around the globe, it is important for companies to support initiatives that aim to tackle and prevent supply chain risks. By obtaining C-the certification, businesses have the unique opportunity to take an active role in supporting national security while improving their own supply chain operations. 

While there are no costs associated with joining the C-TPAT program, companies often have to invest in improving their practices to meet the minimum-security requirements and effectively maintain a compliant program. However, this investment goes a long way in helping companies mitigate risk, avoid supply chain disruptions and drive greater efficiencies for cross-border transport.  

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Linda Bravo is the Corporate Customs Broker at Transplace, where Sergio Flores is the Safety and Security Coordinator. Transplace is a 3PL provider offering logistics technology and transportation management services to manufacturers, retailers, chemical and consumer packaged goods companies. Learn more at Transplace.com.

supply chain finance

5 Companies to Consider for Supply Chain Finance

Supply chain finance is a set of technology-based business and financing processes that link the various parties in a transaction—buyer, seller and financing institution— to lower financing costs and improve business efficiency. Short-term credit that optimizes working capital for both the buyer and the seller is provided by what the hip kids refer to as SCF.

There are several SCF transactions, including an extension of buyer’s accounts payable terms, inventory finance and payables discounting. The SCF solutions differ from traditional supply chain programs to enhance working capital, such as factoring and payment discounts, by connecting financial transactions to value as it moves through the supply chain. Also, SCF encourages collaboration between the buyer and seller, rather than the competition that often pits buyer against the seller and vice versa.

Tom Roberts, senior vice president of Marketing at PrimeRevenue, warned Global Trade readers in September 2016 that a multinational bank may not be the way to go when it comes to SCF. “First, both global supply chains and multinational banks are highly susceptible to changes in the economic and geopolitical landscape,” Roberts wrote. “Supply chain finance programs that are locked into a single source of funding are held hostage to that funder’s risk tolerance. It’s a dangerous game, especially as the global coverage of multinational banks continues to be a moving target.”

No one bank—no matter how global—has the processes and systems in place to serve all currencies and jurisdictions, he also noted. “If a company needs to add a supplier that can’t be funded by their multinational bank, they have to not only source alternative funding, they have to handle the back-end systems integration required to facilitate the trading of receivables. It’s a resource-intensive approach that many companies simply can’t afford.”

The best-in-class supply chain finance programs are typically based on multi-funder platforms, rather than closed, bank-proprietary platforms, according to Roberts. “While it may seem counter-intuitive to simplify supply chain finance by adding more players, it’s not,” he wrote. “With the right processes and systems in place, a multi-funder strategy can increase program participation, secure more competitive pricing and discounts, and ultimately increase cash flow predictably and sustainably for both buyers and suppliers.”

What follows are Global Trade’s picks for places to consider for SCF.

Raistone Capital

Located on Madison Avenue in New York City, Raistone Capital started as a division of Seaport Global, a full-service, independent investment bank. Today, Raistone Capital has access to significant levels of institutional capital and the ability to deliver on customer’s needs, “whether it’s $50,000 or $300,000,000+,” according to the company. Raistone even created invoiceXcel (iX), a complementary financial solution so banks “can continue to serve clients in this ever-changing regulatory environment by providing additional capital offerings to customers—such as supply chain finance and accounts receivable finance.” 

Flexport

Headquartered in San Francisco—with global offices in several major U.S. cities as well as Hong Kong, mainland China, Germany and Holland—Flexport offers clients lines of credit ranging from $100,000 to $20 million to finance inventory, freight and duty and so that customers can accelerate product expansion and revenue growth; enable strategic decisions that reduce landed costs; and minimize supply chain disruption. Best of all, it costs nothing to connect with a Flexport Capital expert to discuss how your supplier terms, customer terms, and capital structure can be optimized to support your working capital goals and business growth. 

PrimeRevenue

Giving the expertise Tom Roberts has already shared via Global Trade, how could we in good conscience skip over his Atlanta-based company that also has offices in Hong Kong, Australia, London, Frankfurt, and Prague. Billed as “the leading provider of working capital financial technology solutions,” PrimeRevenue helps more than 30,000 clients in 70+ countries optimize their working capital to efficiently fund strategic initiatives, gain a competitive advantage and strengthen relationships throughout the supply chain. Established in 2003, PrimeRevenue boasts of now having “the largest and most diverse global funding network of more than 100 funding partners.” They support 30+ currencies on a single cloud-based, multi-lingual, cross-border network, facilitating a volume of more than $200 billion in payment transactions per year.

Trade Finance Global

London-based TFG assists companies with raising debt finance, accessing many traditional forms of finance while also specializing in alternative finance and complex funding solutions related to international trade. “We help companies to raise finance in ways that are sometimes out of reach for mainstream lenders,” according to the company, which taps into more than 250 lenders with unique focuses on different products and/or geographies. And TGF boasts of being able to “quickly get to the key decision-makers of financiers, to make sure your application gets through to the right person.” That ability is built on reputation alone, as TGF is 100 percent independent and not tied to any lenders. Instead, they find the most appropriate SCF solution for the individual customer.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Okay, much of this article details why a multinational bank may not be the best option when it comes to SCF, but Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which also has central hubs in New York City, London, Hong Kong, Minneapolis, and Toronto, does have a solid, end-to-end SCF program. Bank of America Merrill Lynch boasts of having a number of tools to help: segment suppliers and analyze rates; design an optimal marketing program; and educate suppliers on program benefits.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch made sure that the resources needed—support staff, legal, credit and such—all worked towards achieving the efficient deployment of the program,” says Philippe Andre Marcoux, credit and treasury manager at SCF customer Uni-Select Inc., a large multiservice corporation that distributes motor vehicle replacement parts, tools equipment and accessories. “Communication between Bank of America Merrill Lynch, our suppliers and ourselves was the driving force behind the successful implementation. Tools to evaluate the benefits to our suppliers and ourselves were key in convincing our team to participate.”