Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is the largest carrier for US container imports with a market share equal to 13%. When the MSC Gayane was inspected upon calling the Port of Philadelphia it was found to have seven containers on board stuffed with a total of 18 tons of cocaine – a street value of $1.3 billion. As the largest vessel seized by USCBP and with six crewmen taken into FBI custody for allegedly admitting to helping load drugs while at sea off the coast of South America, the temporary suspension of their C-TPAT was almost guaranteed.
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism is a voluntary program designed by USCBP with the goal of strengthening cargo security via close relationships between CBP and businesses in the supply chain. C-TPAT members are considered to be of low risk and are therefore less likely to be examined at a U.S. port of entry.
Having a valid C-TPAT certificate allows companies to save time and cost. The privilege of the membership lives in the trust and agreement between both sides to make the security of the cargo paramount and use only best practices to achieve their goal. ” When an entity joins C-TPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain. “
According to cbp.gov, “If significant supply chain security weaknesses or recommendations are found, a participant’s C-TPAT benefits may be suspended or removed depending on the circumstances. If a company has their C-TPAT benefits suspended, C-TPAT will recommend that the company implement an action plan containing corrective actions to address specific supply chain security weaknesses.”
There is no clear path laid out for MSC to remove the suspension as yet, however, the vessel wasn’t seized under forfeiture. After securing $10 million in cash and a $40 million surety bond, MSC has essentially bailed out the boat and returned her to service. MSC may be subject to closer security inspections and slower clearances as they work through the suspension.
The reason for creating the C-TPAT program is to bring the business of supply chains together with customs to prevent and head off any instances of terrorism. The program is only going to be as strong as the weakest links in the chain. Everglory is C-TPAT certified and clients can request our certificate number though our website and it will be sent to them through the C-TPAT portal.