The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program is one layer in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Through this program, CBP works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve United States border security. To enhance communication with its Partners, C-TPAT routinely highlights matters of interest to the membership; this C-TPAT bulletin addresses the new ISO 17712:2013 standards for security seals that will go into effect May 15, 2014.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality. The ISO 17712 establishes “uniform procedures for the classification, acceptance, and withdrawal of mechanical freight container seals. It provides a single source of information on mechanical seals which are acceptable for securing freight containers in international commerce.”
C-TPAT’s security criteria states that “…a high security seal must be affixed to all loaded containers bound for the U.S. All seals must meet or exceed the current ISO 17712 standards for high security seals.”
Partners are reminded to be vigilant in their purchase of ISO 17712 compliant seals.
They should be obtaining independent written certification from a supplier that its product and processes meet or exceed the ISO 17712 standard. Partners should ask their suppliers for copies of conformance certificates for product testing and security related business practices (Normative Annex A).
The certificates for product testing should come from a lab that is properly accredited according to ISO procedures, such as ISO 17025. The test house must be accredited by an independent third party test laboratory.
Beware of fraudulent documents. Some independent laboratories have adopted digitally signed and certified test reports to ensure content integrity and author authenticity.