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C-TPAT Suspension Process Needs Fixing, says Bradley

OTTAWA — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is asking the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency to follow due process as it relates to C-TPAT suspensions and appeals.

The current process is administered in a way that can have a "devastating impact on a carrier’s business without due process, prior notice/communication, or consideration of the level of exposure carriers involved in moving high volumes of freight across the border face,” said CTA president and CEO, David Bradley.

Bradley pointed to a Canadian carrier that recently had its C-TPAT membership temporarily suspended, but only learned of that fact when their customers informed them; CBP had not contacted the carrier in regards to the suspension, let alone the reasons behind the suspension. The nine day suspension severely damaged the carrier's reputation with existing customers and caused the loss of several potential customers representing tens of thousands of dollars, CTA explained.

“In our view, carriers should be given a warning and have the opportunity to put measures in place to correct a problem and subsequently prove to C-TPAT that these steps are being followed,” said Bradley. “A suspension should be the last and final option after all attempts to correct the behavior have been made.”

The carrier eventually learned that its C-TPAT membership had been suspended on account of a few seal-related incidents over a period of several years. During that period the carrier transported almost 200,000 shipments across the border and had seal violation rate of 0.00004 percent, CTA noted.

“Given the carrier’s exposure, suspension in this case seems to be a gross overstatement and an inefficient use of CBPs resources,” said Bradley.

This isn't the first time that the issue has come up, and it has been an issue that both the CTA and the American Trucking Associations have brought up with CBP before.

“CTA and its members have long promoted the C-TPAT program and we value partnerships with government, especially where it involves national security.” But, says Bradley, “we’d like to see the introduction of a compliance program built on due process and progressive sanctions.”

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