If you transport goods across the U.S. border, it's essential to be aware of the requirements of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program.
Part of the Department of Homeland Security, CTPAT is a voluntary supply chain security initiative that enlists the cooperation of businesses and organizations to help protect the international supply chain.
These seals are important because they serve as proof that your organization is participating in the CTPAT program. They also help to deter tampering and theft and can be used to track shipments.
But what do you need to know about these seals? In this guide, we will explain what CTPAT seals are, why they are important, and provide tips on how to properly use them.
What is CTPAT?
CTPAT is a voluntary supply chain security initiative that was launched in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The program enlists the cooperation of businesses and organizations to help protect the international supply chain.
To participate in CTPAT, businesses and organizations must meet certain security criteria.
This includes implementing security measures throughout their operations, from the point of origin to the point of destination. Once these criteria are met, businesses and organizations can apply for CTPAT certification.
Why are CTPAT Seals Necessary?
The primary goal of CTPAT is to deter, detect, and disrupt terrorist attacks. But the program also has the added benefit of improving supply chain security and reducing cargo theft.
CTPAT seals are one way to show that your business or organization is participating in the program. They prove that you have met the required security criteria and are committed to protecting the supply chain.
Beyond their security benefits, CTPAT seals can also help your business to save money. Because CTPAT-certified organizations are considered low-risk, they are often eligible for expedited processing at U.S. ports of entry. This can lead to shorter wait times and reduced inspection costs.
What are CTPAT Requirements?
To participate in CTPAT, businesses and organizations must meet certain security criteria. These include implementing security measures throughout their operations, from the point of origin to the point of destination.
According to US Customs and Border Control, for a seal to be considered in accordance with CTPAT, it must “…be affixed to all loaded containers bound for the U.S. All seals must meet or exceed the current ISO 17712 standards for high-security seals.”
What is ISO 17712?
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 17712 is the international standard for high-security seals. According to ISO, the standard “specifies the requirements and test methods for mechanical seals, indicative seals and barrier seals used to secure goods in transit.”
To meet or exceed the ISO 17712 standard, seals must be tamper-evident, durable, and have unique identification markings. They must also be able to withstand a certain amount of force.
Ensuring that your seals meet or exceed the ISO 17712 standard, a "VVTT seal verification and inspection process" should be followed to ensure integrity:
V – View seal and container locking mechanisms.
V – Verify seal number for accuracy.
T – Tug on the seal to make sure it is appropriately affixed.
T – Twist and turn the seal to ensure it does not unscrew.
By following these four steps, you can be sure that your seals are properly affixed and meet the CTPAT requirements.
How to Properly Use and Maintain CTPAT Seals
To get the most out of your CTPAT seals, it is vital to use them properly and keep them in good condition. Here are some tips:
Apply seals to all loaded containers bound for the U.S.: Be sure to affix a CTPAT seal to every container that is part of your shipment. This will help to ensure that your entire shipment is protected.
Inspect seals regularly: Periodically check your seals to ensure they are in good condition. Look for signs of tampering, damage, or excessive wear. If you notice any problems, replace the seal.
Store seals properly: When not in use, it is best to store your seals in a cool, dry place. Extreme temperatures for extended periods of time could jeopardize the integrity of the seal.
If a seal is damaged or missing, report immediately. The receiving facility will have to determine whether product has been compromised or not, and whether or not to refuse delivery.
What Types of Seals are Available?
There are a variety of CTPAT-compliant seals available on the market. The type of seal you choose will depend on your specific needs.
Some of the most popular types of CTPAT seals include:
Bolt seals: Bolt seals are made of steel and are equipped with a locking mechanism that secures the seal to the container. Bolt seals are typically used on intermodal containers, trucks, and railcars.
Cable seals: Cable seals are made of steel or aluminum and are equipped with a locking mechanism that secures the seal to the container. Cable seals are typically used on intermodal containers, trucks, and railcars.
Alta Max is Your Source for CTPAT Seals
At Alta Max, we offer a wide range of high-security seals designed to help businesses and organizations keep shipments safe.
Our CTPAT Bolt Seal is a high-security bolt seal that meets the ISO 17712:2010 specifications. This seal is ideal for use on railcars, trucks, trailers, containers, and cargo shipments.
The CTPAT Bolt Seal is available in stock with the word "SEALED" and consecutive numbering engraved on them. You can also order custom seals with your company name and consecutive numbering engraved on them. This seal is an excellent way to secure your shipments and prevent tampering.
To learn more about our CTPAT seals or to place an order, contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and help you find the right seal for your needs.