Is Your Company Eligible for CTPAT Membership? 


What is CTPAT? 

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. CBP works with the trade community through this program to strengthen international supply chains and improve border security of United States

CTPAT is the U.S. version of Authorized Economic Operator Programs, a global effort to secure the supply chain and facilitate legitimate low-risk trade. As CTPAT partners, companies actively work with the U.S. Government to prevent terrorism and illegal trade while identifying their security vulnerabilities and implementing reparative long-term security solutions.

Why Should Companies Participate in CTPAT? 

CTPAT members are considered low-risk companies by CBP and therefore enjoy a variety of benefits, including:  


  • Reduced number of CBP examinations at a U.S. port of entry 
  • Front-of-the-line inspections 
  • Possible exemption from Stratified Exams 
  • Shorter wait times at the border 
  • 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 
  • Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program 
  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack 
  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA) 
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise 


What is the Outlook for CTPAT Program in the Future?

CTPAT is the U.S. government’s commitment to enhancing supply chain security through private sector partnerships. CTPAT represents the national gold standard for a secure supply chain, and CBP intends to further the program with various growth initiatives underway. Beyond the tangible benefits listed above, CTPAT ensures policies and procedures are in place to mitigate violations of diligent customs practices and federal regulations.


One of CTPAT’s initiatives centers on increasing cross-collaborative technologies to enable single window operations and make communications between ports of entry more efficient. We also see this trend globally, as customs organizations invest in Authorized Economic Operator Programs worldwide.

Companies need to take their CTPAT program to the next level and think about CTPAT strategically rather than tactically. CBP is working to ensure that CTPAT will be the baseline in a couple of years. If you are not CTPAT certified then, you’re really going to struggle to be successful with your supply chain.

How to find out if your company is eligible for CTPAT  

CTPAT is open to principal stakeholders of the international trade community who can demonstrate excellence in supply chain security practices and have had no significant security-related events.   


  • Air Carriers
  • Consolidators (Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transport Intermediaries, and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)) 
  • Customs Brokers 
  • Exporters 
  • Foreign Manufacturers 
  • Highway Carriers 
  • Importers 
  • Long Haul Highway Carriers in Mexico 
  • Marine Port Authority and Terminal Operators 
  • Rail Carriers 
  • Sea Carriers 
  • Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PL) 
U.S, Canada, and Mexico-based companies operating under any of the above entity types can apply for CTPAT membership. Before beginning your CTPAT application, carefully identify whether your company meets the eligibility criteria specific to your entity type.  

We’ve made it simple to find out. Check your company’s CTPAT eligibility status here.  

About Us

The CT Strategies team of former CBP CTPAT Supply Chain Security Specialists (SCSS) and Directors help companies successfully navigate CBP’s CTPAT program. Using insights from over 80 years of combined CBP operational and policy knowledge, we leverage our first-hand CTPAT supply chain security experience and connections to current CBP leadership, so you can save time and money and get the most out of your CTPAT membership.

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