Intermodal Supply Chain Security
The effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain system has been a historic and fundamental matter of concern both for the government and business organizations. This is because supply chains are vulnerable to various disruptions such as operational difficulties, accidents and natural disasters. However, the emergency of international crimes and terrorism against developed countries underscores the vulnerability of supply chains in the modern global society (World Customs Organization, 2005). Accordingly, the approach to supply chain security has transformed from being an objective of either the private or the public to a joint objective of the two sectors. The underlying principle behind this new approach is that it is increasingly important to utilize the potential of both the private and public sectors in order to ensure cost effectiveness and reliable supply chain security (Blanchard, 2010). This paper compares two of the nine public–private joint security programs notably the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO). In doing so, the other seeks to provide adequate understanding of the two security programs so that intermodal supply chain companies can make informed and sound decisions on the best program to adopt.
The Customer- Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a joint business-government initiative established in November 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack with an aim of protecting the US from terrorism and hence safeguard its economic viability and that of the world at large (World Customs Organization, 2005). According to the available literature, the program was established on a humble beginning with seven major supply chain companies in 2008 and expanded to accommodate over 8,200 partners ranging from sea, rail and highway carriers to custom brokers, marine port operators and manufacturers in the US and its neighbors (Peterson & Treat, 2008).
On the other hand, the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) is a supply chain security program developed by the World Customs Organization under the framework of Security Standards to secure and facilitate global trade (SAFE framework) and was adopted in 2005 (World Customs Organization, 2005). The program provides a number of standards to be adopted by all operators with an aim of improving security and subsequently reduce the risks for the importation and exportation of illegal materials. The program also strives to eliminate potential accidents which could cause tremendous damages to cargos irrespective of the type of materials contained in the containers (Blanchard, 2010). Simply put, the main objective of AEO is to improve world trade by enhancing mutual recognition between the AEO programs in different nations.
Both C-TPAT and AEO strives to accomplish the common goals of ensuring supply chain security management which ranges from the management of facilities and cargo to human resource, information and business network and company management. Available literature from Customs Border Protection (CBP), supply chain companies are required to meet several requirements in order to qualify to be members of C-TPAT. Top on the list is that they should ensure that consolidated procedures are put in place to protect the shipment of illegal materials (Gutierrez & Hintsa, 2006). A series of appropriate measures are recommended by C-TPAT including but not limited to extremely supervised loading and offloading of materials in shipment areas, counting, marking, weighing, and verification of container seals and documentation of cargo containers.
Secondly, C-TPAT holds that all rail facilities and buildings should be made of materials which offer resistance to the entry of unlawful materials. This requirement helps to protect external attack on properties such as rail yards and buildings and hence eliminating the probability of criminal attacks on the communications infrastructure.
Still, C-TPAT underscores the importance of sound human resources management in this industry as a key measure of ensuring supply chain security. Evidently, supply chain companies are required