C - Tpat And The Importance Of Security Seals
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C   -   tpat And The Importance Of Security Seals

There is no question that supply chain management is the most difficult part of the transportation process. Maintaining compliance on local, statewide, regional, national and even international laws is a daunting task that requires a lot of patience and research. How a transportation business remains competitive and stays on top of the necessary paperwork is a feat that is often ignored and overlooked. Security seals and a new trade initiative, called C-TPAT are new tools that help in the fight against theft and vandalism.

What Is C-TPAT?

C-TPAT is an acronym that stands for Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. This is a joint initiative between private businesses, the government and the United States Customs And Border Protection.

The premise of this new initiative is to share information and create systems, controls and other means to unilaterally show compliance during every step of the transportation process. Theft, smugglers and other nefarious entities have a habit of raiding cargo ships for loot, as if they were pirates on the shores of the Caribbean.

Inspection policies, similar punishments for lack of compliance and training are just some of the areas that the C-TPAT has tightened up in the war against terrorism. The number one purpose of C-TPAT is to improve the level of security within the supply chain and ensure that the transportation reaches its destination safely.

This initiative was created in 2001 with only seven participants. Since that time, C-TPAT members have grown to over 10,000 strong. One of the important ways these members stay in compliance is by using security seals, fasteners and other devices to keep the cargo tamper-proof and secure.

What Is A Security Seal?

Used in shipping containers, security seals are designed to keep the goods in a set position, so that the chances of damage is reduced. International Organization Of Standards (ISO) is a governing body that promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards and is based in Switzerland.

ISO Security Seals meet all safety standards, have tamper-resistant bar coding technology and custom etching into the seal itself. Organizations that are members of C-TPAT prefer these types of security seals because it speeds up the shipping process. When a customs inspector sees an ISO-compliant security seal, they look up the barcode number and process the shipment expeditiously.

The alternative is for the inspector to manually go over the items and consult their paperwork to make sure that the shipment is listed properly on the documentation. This takes longer and slows everything down. If you can imagine hundreds of shipments going through the management process without those seals, then you can begin to understand how a shipment might take twice as long to reach its final destination.

Security seals are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes and materials. Some are used to secure refrigerators and others might be used to secure bolts of fabric. Either way, the security seal is integral to any transportation business and most likely, one of their fixed expenses annually.

The most widely used security seal is made of metal and utilizes an interlocking piece of plastic and a bolt. Every shipping scenario is different. Factors such as security levels, number of inspections and cargo type/class are just a few of the variables that will factor in the decision, as to which type of security seal should be purchased and used.

A growing trend in this market segment is the ability of companies to have their logo and website branded directly into the security seal. This creates even easier recognition for the inspectors and stronger awareness to potential customers and passers-by.

I think the most important thing to remember, when transporting goods or merchandise, is that high security seals are better than the everyday variety because it gives that extra sense of ease knowing that the goods are being transported safely, smoothly and without any major logistical complications.


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