C-TPAT Certified? You Bet!

by Dr. Christelle Laot

February 17, 2016

Security is a major concern for pharmaceutical companies, which have a goal to bring safe and effective medicine to patients, but also protect their revenues and brand names. The pharmaceutical supply chain is highly complex, with many components and ingredients being sourced from various countries to the manufacturing plant, and then exported out of the plant in multiple steps to the end user. This global trade flow, when unsecured, provides potential opportunities for wrongdoers to tamper with the supply chain if weak points are found.

Many security programs have been implemented around the world to gather information and strengthen complex supply chains. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) established a voluntary trade facilitation program called the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in November 2001.

  • C-TPAT benefits include faster US border lanes and reduced US customs inspections.
  • Today over 10,000 members are taking advantage of the government-industry program, now covering 12 business sectors representing various stakeholders along the international supply chain.
  • Minimum security requirements have been clearly defined for each of the 12 business sectors. C-TPAT members must meet and maintain those security standards to pass CBP physical surveillance audits, stay enrolled in the security program and take advantage of associated benefits.
  • Verifying that a supply chain stakeholder is C-TPAT certified is not always easy. C-TPAT certified entities do not receive an official certification on a piece of paper that can be shown around, nor do they appear on a public CBP database. The CBP internet portal certainly provides a list of members, but is only accessible to the C-TPAT community.
  • The American C-TPAT certification is mutually recognized in 11 foreign programs around the world, such as Partners in Protection Program (PIP) in Canada and Authorized Economic Operator Program (AEO) in the EU.

Foreign manufacturers that participate in C-TPAT must work with their suppliers and contractors to ensure that best security practices are in place along the supply chain. Healthcare companies do conduct a security risk assessment of logistics providers and verify that all parties fulfill their supply chain security responsibilities. As a consequence many healthcare shippers are contacting FedEx Express to determine if the largest express transportation company in the world is C-TPAT certified. The short answer is yes. FedEx Express joined the C-TPAT program in 2002 as part of the air carrier C-TPAT program, while its customs broker, FedEx Trade Networks, became certified for the brokerage sector in 2003.

Christelle Laot
Technical Fellow
Dr. Christelle Laot joined FedEx Express in 2007 and is currently technical fellow in the FedEx healthcare industry vertical. In this role, she provides direction and raises awareness around trends, transportation regulatory frameworks and shipping solutions. Prior to her work with FedEx, Dr. Laot held managerial positions in R&D, innovation and strategy at Bayer in Germany for about six years. 
Dr. Laot obtained a PhD and MS in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech (USA), a Diplôme d’Ingénieur from UTC Compiègne (France), as well as an MBA from HEC Montreal (Canada). 

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