The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is warning all Canadian C-TPAT carriers that their designation as a secure, low-risk business could be lost for a considerable period of time for something as simple as not having a certified seal on every trailer entering the United States, which is a condition of C-TPAT membership.
CTA said in a news release that it has become aware of what may be a growing number of carriers who have found themselves in this situation without any prior warning.
"On the one hand, the seal requirement seems simple enough, but in the real world, where there are different drivers, and different types of trailers, loaded at different customer premises, by different people, it is easy for things to fall through the cracks despite a carrier’s best intentions," CTA said. "When C-TPAT shippers load a carrier’s trailer, the shipper is supposed to be responsible for affixing the seal. If they don’t and the driver doesn’t catch it, the carrier is held responsible. And, the penalties can be severe--loss of C-TPAT status for one to five years as reported to CTA. Carriers may not even know they have a problem. Notification of suspension from C-TPAT arrives by mail to the carrier. But even then no explanation for the suspension is given."
CTA said it is hopeful that the US Customs and Border Protection agency that administers the C-TPAT program will be amenable to discussing a system of progressive discipline like those that exist for truck safety compliance, starting with warning letters for minor infractions and increasing penalties for continued non-compliance. The most severe penalties would be reserved for habitual non-compliance.