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Preparation Equals Speed in Shipping

By: Simon Kaye, Jaguar Freight Services
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The advantages of being C-TPAT-certified mean that cross-border shipments move through customs and security faster and more efficiently. Key features include:

  • a reduced number of CBP inspections, reducing border delay times;
  • priority processing for CBP inspections, including front-of-the-line processing for inspections when possible;
  • assignment of a C-TPAT specialist who will work with the company to validate and enhance security throughout the company’s international supply chain;
  • potential eligibility for the CBP Importer Self-Assessment program with an emphasis on self-policing, not CBP audits; and
  • eligibility to attend C-TPAT supply chain security training seminars.

Prepare for Air

It is apparent that, when shipping by ground, taking the time for preparation beforehand can produce shipment speed and efficiency at the border checkpoint. Switch the focus to another transport mode that typifies speed—air cargo—and both the potential delays and the planning that can circumvent them are equally apparent.

By August 2010, 100% of air cargo must be screened by Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-approved methods before being loaded on a passenger aircraft, with a preliminary requirement of 50% screening by February 2009. Screening must be done by breaking down pallet-wrapped shipments into individual items, with the number of pieces determined by shipper-level documentation. Significant carrier delays, cargo backlogs and transit time increases are inevitable without advance preparation.

That preparation comes in the form of TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to allow screening of cargo early in the air cargo supply chain by a trusted, vetted and audited facility. A facility approved for CCSP status must establish the integrity of a shipment through enhanced physical and personnel security standards, and verify the integrity of a shipment throughout the supply chain by utilizing stringent chain of custody methods. CCSPs can be located at shipping facilities, third-party logistics providers, warehouses and distribution centers, freight forwarding facilities or manufacturing facilities. Even producers that do not frequently use air cargo importing would be well-advised to establish a CCSP relationship.

The Planning Advantage

Previous Supply Chain columns have emphasized the efficiency of using a freight forwarding service, and it is important to note that freight forwarders can be certified members of both the C-TPAT and CCSP programs. This enables forwarders to facilitate efficient release of goods and prompt resolution of any outstanding issues affecting customs processing of shipments. The value of certification planning for freight forwarders and for any size U.S. importer of record is immense. Participation in these worldwide supply chain security initiatives ensures a more secure and expeditious logistics arrangement for all involved in the supply chain.