Developing a Strong CTPAT Training Program 

The primary purpose of the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program is to establish a public-private partnership that strengthens the security of global supply chains.  

Ensuring that employees are aware of supply chain security risks and understand your company’s protocols to mitigate those risks is essential to a company’s supply chain security program. That is why Education & Training is one of the key pillars of the CTPAT program.

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Here are a few key things that a company’s CTPAT training program should do. 

1.Develop a broad understanding as to why supply chain security is important throughout the organization. 

  • All employees must have at least general training in security practices of facilities, conveyances, and cargo within the company’s supply chain. While this should include information on the CTPAT program, the training should not be thought of as just checking the box for CTPAT training requirements. Instead, training should explain the spectrum of risks particular to your company and how all personnel, including those with roles not traditionally associated with transport or security, can be aware of and mitigate risk through their activities. 

2. Require certain work functions to have specialized training.  

  • Additionally, specialized training must also be provided based on employees’ position and responsibilities. For example, employees involved in the transportation of cargo should be trained in container inspection and sealing procedures. Employees involved in sourcing and procurement should understand the business partner requirements and risk assessment process.  

  • Training should explain the why behind the company’s policies and procedures, not just the what. Providing employees with the context for how the policies and procedures help mitigate supply chain risks and the consequences of those risks, gives employees a deeper understanding and increases the likelihood that they adhere to the training.  

3. Document who is trained and when. 

  • Whether you hold live training events or require your employees to complete self-paced courses, don’t forget to maintain training records! This is not only a best practice for companies for implementing a robust training program more broadly, it also is a requirement within the MSC. As CPTAT members already know, Evidence of Implementation is an important part of program membership.  

4. Establish measurable objectives and periodically assess the results.  

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of training is essential to having a strong training program. This can be done in a variety of ways. For example, based on risk, management personnel can periodically evaluate inspection and quality procedures as they are performed by employees to ensure that established processes are followed, or review purchasing information against approved lists of vetted business partners.  

5. Incorporate continuous education. 

  • Training is an ongoing effort. This is partly because threats to supply chain security are continuously evolving. As a good practice, companies can leverage internal communications systems to inform employees of new trends in supply chain security threats. For example, sharing real examples of recent smuggling attempts keeps employees aware of different smuggling methods being used while also reinforcing the why behind the company’s procedures. Additionally, those responsible for developing the company’s training should monitor changes to CTPAT requirements to make sure training materials remain current. 

Looking for more information to help with your company’s supply chain security training? Check out our Training resources! CT Strategies provides live training including intensive workshops and free webinars, as well as online courses through our CTS Academy.  

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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