OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is once again calling upon the US Customs and Border Protection Agency to follow due process as it relates to C-TPAT suspensions and appeals.
According to CTA president and CEO, David Bradley, “The way the process is currently administered 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.
“C-TPAT is supposed to be a partnership,” says Bradley. “But sometimes CBPs actions are not consistent with that ideal.”
He cites a recent example where a Canadian carrier recently had its C-TPAT membership temporarily suspended, but was not contacted by CBP in order to be made aware of the suspension or the reasons behind it. The carrier learned of its suspension only when informed by its customers, according to the CTA. The suspension, which was in place for nine days, severely damaged the carrier’s reputation with its existing customers and caused the loss of several potential customers representing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue, CTA officials note.
“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 behaviour have been made.”
CTA says the carrier in question 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%, according to CTA.
“Given the carrier’s exposure, suspension in this case seems to be a gross overstatement and an inefficient use of CBPs resources,” said Bradley.
Bradley claims CTA has seen carriers lose their C-TPAT certification for as few as three seal violations. The alliance, along with the American Trucking Associations has been raising this matter with CBP for years, officials note.
“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.”