The Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary, joint government-business partnership initiative that seeks to enhance the security of, and draw attention to any weaknesses in, a supply chain.
A simplified way to look at the program is to recognize that US borders are vulnerable to attacks, so the C-TPAT program wants US companies who conduct business abroad to analyze their business models and identify any possible areas where a threat may occur. With C-TPAT, US Customs Border Protection (CBP) is able to realize increased supply chain visibility and better focus resources on higher risk shipments and supply chain participants.
For an importer such as Vineyard Brands, a supply chain would be defined as the movement of wine from a supplier in more than 10 foreign countries all the way to our warehouses, and is further defined by the relationships with anyone who touches that wine along its way to the US (suppliers, trucking companies, freight forwarders, steamship lines, etc)
According to CBP, there are more than 10,000 certified partners. Nearly half of this number is importers, although it’s worth noting that of the nearly 100,000 US importers (of all commodities), only about 5,000 take part in the C-TPAT program. Vineyard Brands has been a certified partner in the program since 2008; we’ve been revalidated in the program in 2012, and again in 2016.
Revalidations occur every 4 years and involve an in-depth review and retooling of a member’s Security Profile, which is the core descriptor of a partner’s supply chain security. A revalidation also includes a foreign site visit by an officer of CBP (this year, our partner winery Marqués de Cáceres in Rioja, Spain, was visited; they passed their site visit with flying colors!)
New to the program for the 2016 revalidation process is the mandatory Supply Chain Risk Assessment, whereby a complete Risk Assessment must be developed for each of Vineyard Brands’ supply chains (if you’ve ever written a Risk Assessment, you know what a monumental undertaking this can be!)
Over the course of the 8 month long revalidation process, our C-TPAT Committee in the Birmingham office worked tirelessly on:
- Analyzing and updating different aspects of the security profile
- Attending a C-TPAT training seminar in Chicago
- Developing a complete Risk Assessment
- Preparing new Business Partner Security Profile Questionnaires (and compiling the responses of all of our overseas partners)
- Documenting all processes.
We’re thrilled to announce our revalidation and recertification in the C-TPAT program for the next four years. Vineyard Brands is not only among the elite wine importers of the US for the wines that we represent, but we’re also in the top tier of compliant importers. We’ll sell you the finest wines from around the world and we’ll get them to you safely and securely, at that!
If you are a customer of Vineyard Brands and a C-TPAT partner, be sure to send Bill a monitoring request via the Status Verification Interface within your C-TPAT security model