Business Partner Management Found as Top Challenge for CTPAT Companies

Business Partner Management Found As Top Challenge For CTPAT Companies

CTS’ study of the CTPAT program found that the biggest challenge for companies implementing CTPAT requirements was obtaining information from partners in their supply chain, which can include manufacturers of subcomponents, logistics partners, and even customs brokers. 78% of program members rate this as one of the more challenging aspects of their CTPAT membership.

One of the key tenets of CTPAT membership is monitoring the policies and practices of other entities in your supply chain to ensure that they are following supply chain security standards. Having partners that adhere to these best practices protects CTPAT members by reducing risks of disruption in their supply chains caused by unreliable business partners, while also contributing to the overall security of United States commerce.

Key Challenges in Information Gathering from Business Partners

We dug into the data and asked our CTPAT experts why collecting necessary information so hard for so many companies, regardless of whether they are an importer, highway carrier, or other type of CTPAT member, and here is what we learned:

  • According to the study, many CTPAT members have difficulty working with foreign business partners who may not think the CTPAT requirements are necessary.
  • Ongoing monitoring of business partners is burdensome, time consuming, and can be expensive. 53% of CTPAT members report that they incurred substantial or moderate costs in efforts to obtain or verify information about their business partners. 
  • Foreign business partners operate in different legal systems which can make compliance with some program criteria difficult or in some cases illegal.
  • CTPAT provides limited assistance to program members who need to mitigate risks that they discover downstream with business partners in their supply chain – many members feel like they are on their own once risks are discovered.
  • Educating personnel and partners about the CTPAT program is reported to be costly.


Striking the right balance for your company is the key to success when meeting the CTPAT business partner screening requirements. You can build a process based on risk to reduce the burden. Importer MSC 3.7 states “...Members should update their security assessments of their business partners on a regular basis, or as circumstances/risks dictate.” We often see a misinterpretation of this criterion which creates a lot of unnecessary work for Members. You know your business and if you know your business partners, you can focus your ongoing monitoring efforts where they are the most needed.


Where We Stand

Compliance with CTPAT program requirements can be a significant hurdle for businesses, but it is critical to ensuring supply chain security and integrity. An increasing number of leading importers are turning to third-party CTPAT management to manage year-round compliance. With a dedicated CTPAT management team, companies minimize overhead associated with their CTPAT membership and avoid the risk of noncompliance for years at a time. Learn how we can help.


AEO programs such as CTPAT set the global standards for supply chain integrity. Although certain companies may not be eligible for the CTPAT program, partnering with member companies prepares them for handling supply chain disruptions and optimizes operational integrity. This course informs companies who engage with CTPAT members on best practices for maintaining compliance and leveraging the advantages of their business relationship.

The Course Serves as a Practical Training Module For 

    • Companies seeking to meet CTPAT/AEO standards as required by their business partners

    • Non-CTPAT companies who aspire to improve supply chain security and enhance marketability among business partners and customers

Course Content 

    • The significance of meeting CTPAT and similar global AEO standards

    • Best practices for maintaining compliance as a trusted business partner

    • Long-term benefits and ways to leverage partnership advantages

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