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New C-TPAT High Security Seal Standards

As of May 15, 2014, there are new standards for C-TPAT program-approved security seals under the new ISO 17712:2013.  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.”  The current ISO 17712 standard requires validation in three areas:

  1. Testing to determine a seal’s physical strength
  2. Auditing of manufacturer’s security-related business processes
  3. Seals be designed and constructed with tamper indicative features that generate tell-tale evidence of tampering

Under C-TPAT’s security criteria, it is stated 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.”  C-TPAT Partners may continue using the ISO 17712:2010 high security seals they have in stock, but must look to purchase ISO 17712:2013 high security seals in the future.

It is important to be cautious when purchasing ISO 17712 compliant seals because if seals are able to be manipulated with prior to use, they are more vulnerable to tampering en route.   Seals should never be handled by anyone other than an authorized or trained individual.  C-TPAT partners should be obtaining 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.  These certificates for product testing should come from a lab that is properly accredited according to ISO procedures, such as ISO 17025.

As always, the VVTT seal verification and inspection process should be used prior to seals being placed and closed:

V – View seal and container locking mechanisms

V – Verify seal number for accuracy

T – Tug on seal to make sure it is affixed properly

T – Twist and turn seal to make sure it does not unscrew