What certifications should freight carriers (by land or by air) have in order to get your goods into Canada or from Canada into the United States?

April 12th, 2012

Today’s post is written by Heather A Powell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing, Inc.

When you hire or contract a freight carrier to ship a package or even a truck load of goods into another country, do you ask what certifications the truck line has? Do you understand what each certification means?

Here is a brief list of certifications that many freight companies have. If you do not see a certification on this list and a carrier says they have one, always research the certification and how it pertains to your particular freight crossing a countries boarder.

C-TPATCustoms-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a cooperative endeavor between the trade community and U.S. Customs Service to develop, enhance, and maintain effective security processes throughout the global supply chain, and effectively manage USA border security.

C-TPAT recognizes that Customs can provide the highest level of security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the supply chain — importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators, air consolidators /OTIs /NVOCCs and manufacturers.   Through this initiative, Customs is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate their security guidelines to their business partners within the supply chain.

Definition Source: http://www.carotrans.com/Portals/0/PDF_DOCS/C-TPATArticle.PDF

F.A.S.T:  Free and Secure Trade

 FAST is the acronym for “Free and Secure Trade.” It is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico that gives partnering importers expedited release at national borders when transportation is by truck. It is for qualifying commercial shipments through risk-management principles, supply-chain security, industry partnerships and advanced targeting.

Definition Source: http://www.yrc.com/homeland/homelandsecurity_customs_border_protection.html

 PIP: Partners in Protection

 The Partner in Protection (PIP) Certification, the supply chain security program of the Canada Border Services Agency, was initially established in 1995 as a program focused on Customs’ compliance. It has since transformed to actively deal with supply chain security as its main objective.

 Obtaining a PIP Certification requires an organization to complete a security profile for their main operations as well as security profiles for all subsidiary and/or affiliates and supply chain business partners. The completed security profile must clearly demonstrate that all security requirements have been met. CBSA then works with the organization to conduct site visits, review the security profiles, and offer suggestions to correct areas that received high risk assessments.

Definition Source: http://www.supplychainsecurity.com/gov_pip.html  

IATA: International Air Transport Association

 IATA (International Air Transport Association) was founded in Havana, Cuba, in April 1945. It is the prime vehicle for inter-airline cooperation in promoting safe, reliable, secure and economical air services – for the benefit of the world’s consumers. The international scheduled air transport industry is now more than 100 times larger than it was in 1945. Few industries can match the dynamism of that growth, which would have been much less spectacular without the standards, practices and procedures developed within IATA.

Definition Source:  http://www.iata.org/about/Pages/history.aspx  

CIFFA:  Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association

 The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association was founded September 1948 in Montreal by a small group of freight forwarders who saw a need to create an industry association to meet the professional demands of its members.

 CIFFA Mission Statement: Our mission is to represent and support members of the Canadian international freight forwarding industry in providing the highest level of quality and professional services to their clients.

Definition Source: http://www.ciffa.com/about_whatis.asp

DG: Dangerous Goods Certification

 Dangerous Goods: Articles or substances which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property when transported by air and which are classified according to the U.S. DOT and IATA/ICAO List of Dangerous Goods.

 Hazmat Certification, DG Certification, DG Certified, Hazmat Certified etc. all refer to the concept that someone, some entity is conferring approval on an individual or company that they are authorized to ship hazmat in commerce.—Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation in this area.—In the US, only the employer can certify employees. The DOT does not certify anyone; never has.

Definition Source: http://www.dgtraining.com/Resources/Glossary.htm

While these are just a few of the common certifications, it is always in your best interest to ask what other certifications the freight company or freight forwarder have to get your goods safely from point A to point B without incident, safely, and within country of destination and origin standards. 

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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