U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted to its Web site recently its 2011 C-TPAT Costs & Savings Survey. CBP concludes from the review that C-TPAT “has become a vital part of supply chain security in the post-9/11 world” and that the program membership “continues to be a critical source of feedback and recommendations for improvement.”
CBP states that the “overarching theme” of this survey is that “the value of C-TPAT membership cannot be measured adequately in terms of dollars and cents.” On the one hand, there are indeed implementation costs and maintenance costs, which are offset by savings in only a minority of cases.
In addition, a “non-ignorable minority of respondents” said they have not seen the expected improvements in processes that impact their profitability, such as faster border crossings, front-of-the-line programs and less-frequent inspections. At the same time, CBP said, “it is clear that C-TPAT members take pride in their membership, see it as an industry best practice and value it for reasons that go beyond a purely monetary frame of reference.” These reasons include a best-practice approach to security issues that creates a business culture of more secure operations for all and constant improvements in security, the assurance that shipments will move predictably, reduced exposure to legal or financial risk, and the indirect benefits of efficiency and safety resulting from security activities that reveal equipment or personnel issues that do not directly impact security.
Other information revealed through this survey includes the following.
• Small numbers of importers and carriers reported their estimates of the costs of border delays in four different modes of transport. The median costs were $200 for land delays, $500 for air delays, $1,000 for rail delays and $1,500 for sea delays.
• CBP asked what percentage of contracts for supply chain relationships these days require bidders to be C-TPAT certified. Eight percent of respondents said all of them while 9% said none. About 40% of respondents put the figure between 1% and 45% and about 30% said it was between 50% and 99%.
• For the 75% of respondents who reported a dollar value for implementation costs related to C-TPAT membership, those costs ranged from $280 to $4 million, with a median of $17,370. For the 62% who reported a dollar value for maintenance costs, those costs ranged from $45 to $815,000, with a median of $9,000.
• For the 26% of respondents who reported a number of person-hours for time savings related to C-TPAT membership, those savings ranged from 25 to 48,000 person-hours annually with a median of 373. For the 24% who reported a dollar value for cost savings, those savings ranged from $50 to $52 million, with a median of $5,350.
• Asked to summarize the financial costs and savings related to C-TPAT membership as net positive, neutral or net negative, respondents fell about equally into each category.
Source: STR Trade Report