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Customs-Trade Partnership

Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)




Important C-TPAT information

Important C-TPAT information

What is C-TPAT?


C-TPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.


How does C-TPAT work?

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.


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.

What are the benefits of C-TPAT?

C-TPAT Partners enjoy a variety of benefits, including taking an active role in working closer with the U.S. Government in its war against terrorism. As they do this, Partners are able to better identify their own security vulnerabilities and take corrective actions to mitigate risks. Some of the benefits of the program include: 

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations

  • Front of the line inspections

  • Possible exemption from Stratified Exams

  • Shorter wait times at the border

  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company

  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders

  • Access to the C-TPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials

  • Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States

  • Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program

  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack

  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)

  • Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise

How do I join C-TPAT?


Participation in C-TPAT is voluntary and there are no costs associated with joining the program. Moreover, a company does not need an intermediary in order to apply to the program and work with CBP; the application process is easy and it is done online. The first step is for the company to review the C-TPAT Minimum Security Criteria for their business entity to determine eligibility for the program. The second step is for the company to submit a basic application via the C-TPAT Portal system and to agree to voluntarily participate. The third step is for the company to complete a supply chain security profile. The security profile explains how the company is meeting C-TPAT’s minimum security criteria. In order to do this, the company should have already conducted a risk assessment. Upon satisfactory completion of the application and supply chain security profile, the applicant company is assigned a C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist to review the submitted materials and to provide program guidance on an on-going basis. The C-TPAT program will then have up to 90 days to certify the company into the program or to reject the application. If certified, the company will be validated within a year of certification.


Where can I get more information about C-TPAT?

Visit for more information about C-TPAT in general, for instructions to complete annual reviews, and to view training materials related to common C-TPAT processes. Also information on new features will be posted to the C-TPAT Public Library.


If you have C-TPAT issues or questions, please contact your Supply Chain Security Specialist, or the Duty Officer of the Day by email at or by phone at (202) 344‐1180.  Be advised that the Duty Officer cannot reset your password for you, they assist with general inquiries and questions.

The information on this page is copied from various C.B.P. publications. No copyright claim is made to original US Government works.

17-Point Truck and Trailer Inspection

17-point inspection

Conveyance Inspection Procedures:

Using a checklist, drivers should be trained to inspect their conveyances for natural or hidden compartments. Training in conveyance searches should be adopted as part of the company’s on-the-job training program.

Conveyance inspections must be systematic and should be completed upon entering and departing from the truck yard and at the last point of loading prior to reaching the U.S. border.

Highway carriers must visually inspect all empty trailers, to include the interior of the trailer, at the truck yard and at the point of loading, if possible.

1.) Bumper

2.) Engine

3.) Tires (truck & trailer)

4.) Floor (inside truck)

5.) Fuel Tanks

6.) Cab/ Storage Compartments

7.) Air Tanks

8.) Drive Shafts

9.) Fifth Wheel

10.) Outside/ Undercarriage

11.) Outside/ Inside Doors

12.) Floor (inside trailer)

13.) Side Walls

14.) Front Wall

15.) Ceiling/ Roof

16.) Refrigeration Unit

17.) Exhaust

Truck (Tractor, Rig, Mule, etc.)
Trailer (Container, box, Ro-Ro, etc.)


Using a flashlight and inspection mirror, check the front bumper for compartments or hidden material


With the engine off, check for natural or hidden compartments.

Using a flashlight and inspection mirror, check the engine compartments.

Remove the air filter cover and air filter.

Check the air filter compartment.


Use a tool to hit and vibrate the tires. They should sound and feel hollow.

Check the spare tire on the trailer and tractor.


Ensure there are no people in the truck.

Lift the floor carpet to confirm there are no new repairs.


Use a tool to tap the fuel tanks. They should sound like they contain fluid.

Use a flashlight to look inside the fuel tanks themselves.


Look inside and outside the storage compartments for improper contents.

Keep them locked after they are checked.


Tap the tractor air tanks. They should sound hollow.

Tap the trailer air tanks and look for any weld marks or other signs of tampering.


Inspect the drive shaft for any repairs or new paint.

Use a tool to tap the drive shaft. It should sound hollow.


Check the empty spaces for improper material.

Check the battery areas to ensure they are secure and are free from improper materials.


Use an inspection mirror to check the inside lip of the undercarriage of the truck and trailer.

Check the rear light areas to ensure there are no improper materials in the cavities.


Check the locking mechanism to ensure they work properly.

Check the bolts and rivets to ensure they are secure

Check to ensure the door hinges are secure.

Check any repair and weld marks to determine what was supposedly repaired.


The floor should be flat and not lifted or raised.

All floor planks should be bolted down to the trailer frame.


Ensure there are no new or loose panels on the trailer.

Use a flashlight to check the inside panels of the trailer.


Check to ensure all front wall panels are secure. 

Check any obvious repairs to ensure the repairs are legitimate.

Use a range finder, measuring tape or other measuring device to determine

the inside length of the trailer (to see if there are any false walls).


Check to ensure roof panels are secure. Use a range finder, measuring tape or other measuring

device to determine the height of the trailer (to see if there are any false walls).

Check outside of roof for any obvious signs of repairs or new rivets.

Check any obvious repairs to ensure the repairs are legitimate.


Turn the unit on an off to cycle it and ensure it works.

Open the doors to the refrigeration unit and check inside to ensure nothing improper is inside.

With the refrigeration unit off, use a flashlight to inspect it.


Ensure there are not ropes or other items tied to the exhaust pipe or exhaust.

Ensure the exhaust pipe is not loose. It should also be hot if the engine has been on.

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