Many Chemical Companies Still Unaware of C-TPAT

Two-thirds not aware of similarities between federal security program and industry's Responsible Care program, survey finds

Two-thirds not aware of similarities between federal security program and industry's Responsible Care program, survey finds

Philadelphia — January 29, 2004 — Nearly two-thirds of chemical industry executives in a recent survey were unaware of the U.S. Government's Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and its similarities to existing Responsible Care standards.

The survey, by BDP International, a global logistics and transportation services company, and its Centrx consulting unit, revealed that nearly 44 percent of respondents were unaware of C-TPAT. Of those who were, more than 37 percent were unaware of its similarities to the chemical industry's Responsible Care program.

On a combined basis, 64 percent of total respondents were unaware of similarities between C-TPAT and Responsible Care.

Significantly, more than 90 percent of the respondents who were aware of C-TPAT felt it was important to align their organizations with its initiatives. However, of those who felt alignment was important, only 44 percent were able to identify a function, job title or department within their companies that would be accountable for coordinating C-TPAT and Responsible Care.

"These findings suggest there is ample opportunity for the chemical industry to merge Responsible Care and C-TPAT in the interest of supply chain efficiency as well as security," said Michael Ford, BDP's vice president for regulatory compliance. "Although participating in the C-TPAT program is not mandatory, if your suppliers and customers are, it behooves you to get on board."

Ford said that the data also suggest the need for initiatives on the part of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and associations such as the American Chemistry Council to educate the industry about the similarities of these programs and perhaps even partner with chemical companies to expedite their integration.

Of the respondents who could identify where responsibility for coordinating Responsible Care and C-TPAT would lie, 24 percent assigned it to supply chain management, 22 percent to international transportation/logistics and 25 percent to safety and security. Moreover, 90 percent of these respondents reported that their companies are undertaking specific measures to integrate Responsible Care and C-TPAT into policies, programs and procedures.

When asked what practices were being undertaken to share and benefit from similarities between Responsible Care and C-TPAT, among the initiatives noted were joint domestic/international supply chain security teams (29 percent), comparative analyses of Responsible Care and C-TPAT (28 percent), and incorporation of Responsible Care security measures into the C-TPAT program.

Respondents who could not assign specific responsibility for coordinating Responsible Care and C-TPAT cited other priorities in a resource-constrained environment as the single largest barrier to integrating the programs. This would seem to indicate a lack of awareness of the potential benefits of combining these programs, correlating closely with the percentage of respondents who did not know how their companies would recover the additional costs of implementing them separately (42 percent).

In November BDP International and its Centrx consulting unit commissioned Adler Research of Bethlehem, Pa., to survey U.S. chemical companies to measure trends in the integration of Responsible Care and C-TPAT standards toward establishment of global supply chain security practices. Specifically, the survey sought to determine the extent to which respondents were aware of similarities between Responsible Care and C-TPAT and were integrating these programs.

Respondents represented a variety of responsibilities within their companies, including international transportation/logistics, domestic transportation/logistics, sourcing/procurement, regulatory compliance, safety and security, plant/facility operations and general management. Their companies ranged in size from under $100 million in annual revenues to $5 billion and over. Data were collected from 218 respondents between December 8 and December 19.

For more information on C-TPAT and solutions for supply chain security, see "Building the Secure Supply Chain," the Net Best Thing article in the June/July 2003 issue of iSource Business.