Scott H. Smith

Enterprise security and their organizations face complex challenges when protecting the supply chain. The challenges include technology, business pressures and international requirements.

To help, the International Cargo Security Council (ICSC) continues to offer key information as well as networking and professional development opportunities. Starting last month, ICSC began offering seminars in Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico on C-TPAT (customs-trade partnership against terrorism), which is the voluntary government-business initiative to strengthen the global supply chain and U.S. border security.

These seminars educate professionals working in manufacturing and transportation companies serving U.S. importers and address specific C-TPAT educational requirements. U.S. importers encourage their foreign factories and suppliers to attend these important seminars.

It is worth noting that C-TPAT, while administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, is perhaps the most significant initiative affecting global commerce. The World Customs Organization (WCO), which represents the customs administrations of 169 countries and more than 98 percent of world trade, includes C-TPAT in its framework of standards to secure and facilitate global trade. C-TPAT therefore not only affects U.S. importers and their supply chain partners but also the development of systems to secure commerce worldwide. For example, it is expected that the European Union will develop a supply chain security initiative based on the C-TPAT model and within the WCO framework.

Beyond C-TPAT, ICSC has many events planned or in development. In cooperation and partnership with the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, ICSC just completed a four-day Supply Chain Integrity Program. This certificate program covers critical topics in supply chain security, such as government initiatives, industry best practices and cargo terrorism. The advanced course from GMATS-ICSC, Cargo Security Management, will take place in mid-October.

ICSC is also organizing roundtables and seminars on various supply chain security topics. And ICSC is rejuvenating its relationship with educational provider LSI, based in Kentucky, in order to reach specific markets and audiences.

Upcoming events include the ICSC Annual Conference and Exhibition, June 11–14, 2006, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. This event brings together hundreds of security and supply chain practitioners to learn about the latest technologies, challenges and solutions in global commerce. The 2006 conference has a dual theme: new ideas in supply chain security and new ideas in counterterrorism.

ICSC intends to be at the forefront of supply chain security, which is why the association is participating in important international conferences. Your columnist is conference chair of Cargo Container and Traceability: RFID and Tracking Technologies in Freight Security and Logistics, a Lloyd’s List event in London.

Coffee Beans and WMDs

A U.S. Homeland Security study that suggests terrorists can import weapons of mass destruction inside bags of coffee beans has encouraged Starbucks Corp. to install high-tech sensors to detect tampering with cargo containers.

According to media reports, the study, “Operation Safe Commerce,” followed the supply chain of coffee beans from Guatemala’s Palin Dry Mill to Starbuck’s Green Bean plant in Kent, Wash. It identified “serious” security problems.

In March, Starbucks said it will install CommerceGuard sensors from GE to detect tampering of cargo containers during shipment. “We are taking a proactive approach in securing our supply chain to ensure the safety of our customers, partners, employees, communities and countries of origins,” Dorothy Kim, executive vice president of Starbucks’ supply chain operations, told the Associated Press.