This is how you check whether your security seals supplier is CTPAT compliant

CTPAT dictates that a high security seal must be affixed to all loaded containers bound for the United States. All seals must meet or exceed the ISO 17712:2013 standard for high security seals. In this article CTPAT and its benefits will be explained shortly. Then ISO 17712:2013 standard’s implications for CTPAT compliant security seal suppliers will be discussed. Finally, this post describes how you can check whether your security seal supplier is CTPAT compliant.

CTAP security seals

CTPAT and its benefits for carriers

From its initiation in 2011, CTPAT now has more than 11,400 certified partners. CTPAT, which stands for Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, was started by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to strengthen international supply chains and improve United States border security. Participating in CTPAT is voluntary. When joining a partner agrees to protect the supply chain, to identify security gaps, and to implement specific security measures and best practices. These evolve over time as technology and knowledge are improving faster and faster.

Being a CTPAT certified partner has several advantages. For CTPAT certified carriers some important benefits include:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
CTPAT advantages for carriers
Being a CTPAT partner offers various advantages for carriers

If you are CTPAT compliant you are also compliant to various foreign partnership programs, such as European Union’s Authorized Economic Operator Program, Mexico’s NEED Program and Canada’s Border Services Agency’s Partners in Protection Program. If you are an exporter to any of these areas or other areas that provide mutual recognition to CTPAT, being a CTPAT partners smooths international trade.

CTPAT compliant security seal suppliers. What does this mean?

CTPAT requires the use of ISO 17712:2013 certified high security seals for sealing cargo bound for the U.S. This standard requires independent confirmation in 3 areas:

  1. Testing the physical strength of a security seal. ISO 17712 defines 3 types of security seals. Of these 3 only high (“H”) security seals are CTPAT compliant. Security seal suppliers must use independent and accredited third-party laboratories to validate a seal’s classification. These labs must be accredited according to ISO/IEC 17025 to perform testing specific to ISO 17712.
  2. Auditing of manufacturers’ security related business processes. ISO 17712 defines over 2 dozen required practices, such as facility risk assessments and access controls to production and storage areas. Suppliers’ compliance should be demonstrated through an independent and accredited certification as well.
  3. Security seals must be designed and constructed with tamper indicative features that generate tell-tale evidence of tampering.
Hoefon Security Seals CTPAT Parnter
Hoefon Security Seals offers various CTPAT compliant high security seals

How can you check if your security seal supplier is CTPAT compliant?

If you are a CTPAT certified carrier and if you are carrying containers into the United States, a high security seal which meets or exceeds ISO 17712:2013 standards must be affixed to all loaded containers bound for the U.S. To be compliant you should ask your security supplier for copies of conformance certificates for product testing and security related business practices (Normative Annex A of ISO 17712:2013). Moreover, the certificates for product testing should come from a lab that is properly accredited according to ISO procedures, such as 17025. The test house itself must be accredited by an independent third-party test laboratory.

Using CTPAT compliant seals is just one part of being a CTPAT compliant carrier, but a part that should not be neglected. We hope that this article helps in understanding which criteria your CTPAT compliant security seals suppliers must meet and how you can check this.

Hoefon Security Seals is a CTPAT member and supplies various CTPAT compliant security seals certified high security seals, you can find more information underneath.