What are C-TPAT Seals?

In the security sector (both minimum and maximum) there are seals that are used for ensuring the various levels of security.  Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism or C-TPAT for short is a part of the United States Customs Service.  Known as a joint government business initiative, the C-TPAT manufactures high security products most notably the C-TPAT seals.  The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism builds relationships that strengthen supply chain and border patrol. The C-TPAT works closely with owners of supply chain, importers, brokers and warehouse manufacturers in order to provide the highest level of security.  There are several types of C-TPAT compliant seals that one should be familiar with.  They are discussed below.

Uses and Standards
The C-TPAT seals are actually categorized by use.  Most of these customs compliant seals are used to seal certain containers.  Mechanical seals are actually a key component mandated by C-TPAT of its members.  Using these compliant seals ensures container integrity as well as protects the containers from being tampered with by unauthorized people.  Furthermore, it ensures that unauthorized material does not find its way into the container.

All C-TPAT seals are required to meet or exceed the standards that govern high security seals.  These standards are referred to as ISO/PAS 17712.  High security seals are under the ISO/PAS 17712 specifications.  They are described as security seals that are made from metal or metal cable.  These materials delay access or intrusion into a closed container.  Furthermore, these seals can only be removed by using a bolt or cable cutter. Additionally, the seals would need to be inspected prior to removal to ensure that they were not previously tampered with.

Best Practices
As with anything other product or service, it is important to ensure that manufacturers and businesses alike ensure that best practices are maintained. Companies that sell the seals are required to maintain stringent best practices in accordance to what the C-TPAT requires.  For example, the C-TPAT requires that manufacturers continuously maintains ISO 9001-2000 certification on all of their manufacturing buildings and all contract production services can only be bought from ISO 9001-2000 certified plans.

Purchasing high security seals requires due diligence.  Additionally, there are certain requirements and certifications that must be maintained.

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