Customs wants transportation companies to improve means of shipment security

Jan. 1, 2003
UNITED States Customs Service officials are expecting companies that import and export products to be aware not only of their own means of security, but

UNITED States Customs Service officials are expecting companies that import and export products to be aware not only of their own means of security, but that of their clients, said Barry Wilkins, managing director, Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations Inc, Kansas City, Missouri.

He made the remarks while discussing the US Customs Service's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a government/industry trade partnership that will help expedite cross-border shipments. Wilkins was a speaker at the National Association of Chemical Distributors annual Operations Seminar in September 2002 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Should there be another attack on the United States, only members of the partnership would be able to move cargo across the borders or through US ports, Wilkins said.

C-TPAT participants must agree to a series of initiatives, including: a comprehensive self-assessment of supply chain security; completion of a supply chain security questionnaire; development of a program to enhance security throughout the supply chain in accordance with C-TPAT security recommendations; and communication of C-TPAT security recommendations to other companies in the supply chain.

“Information and data exchanges are extremely important,” Wilkins said.

He recommended that companies begin the process to join C-TPAT in order to beat the rush, as Customs expects to receive many applications.

In addition to the C-TPAT initiatives, Wilkins reminded companies that recent security measures are in keeping with theft prevention practices already in use. He pointed out that “trade at rest is trade at risk,” meaning that products are more vulnerable to theft when the transportation process is interrupted.

To expedite and secure shipments, he called for better delivery scheduling, container tracking, employee awareness and education, facility perimeter control, and use of seals and locks.

FAST operational at US-Canada border

The joint United States-Canada Free and Secure Trade (FAST) initiative is now operational at three major commercial crossing points at the US-Canada border. They include Detroit MI/Windsor, Ontario, Canada; Port Huron MI/Sarnia, Ontario; and Buffalo NY/Fort Erie, Ontario. FAST is expediting trade through the three locations responsible for processing over 20,000 inbound and outbound commercial trucks per day — representing more than 40 percent of trade between the US and Canada, according to information from the US Customs Service.

In mid-January 2003, the FAST lane program will be extended farther west along the border to Blaine WA/Douglas, British Columbia, Canada, and to the east, at Champlain NY/Lacolle, Quebec, Canada, according to the information.

To be eligible for the FAST lane, a shipment must be destined for an importer enrolled in the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), transported by a carrier enrolled in C-TPAT, and driven by a registered driver in possession of a valid FAST — Commercial Driver Card.