Industry Issues


A number of programs have been introduced that partner businesses with government in an effort to better secure the supply chain. Even with these programs, some issues remain.

Supply Chain Security Programs - International

Framework of Standards

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is the intergovernmental organization for Customs matters. Its membership is made up of national Customs administrations from around the world.

In 2005, the WCO adopted the so-called “SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate international trade”, commonly referred to as “SAFE”. The stated purpose of SAFE is to set forth principles and standards that Member Customs administrations of the WCO are encouraged to use in developing their cargo and supply chain security policies and programs, including voluntary Customs-business partnership programs intended to enhance the security of international supply chains while facilitating legitimate trade (“Authorized Economic Operator” or AEO programs). SAFE was most recently amended in 2011. Read the SAFE Framework of Standards.

The World Shipping Council participated actively in the development of the SAFE Framework of Standards, and has since 2006 been a member of the WCO's Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG). The PSCG, which is made up of 30 company and trade association representatives, advises the WCO on the progress and issues relating to implementation of the SAFE Framework of Standards. Learn more about the PSCG.

Supply Chain Security Programs - United States

See a graphic representation of how the U.S. maritime security programs are implemented throughout the supply chain.


C-TPAT, the U.S. Customs –Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen international supply chain and U.S. border security.C-TPAT engages with industry by providing certifications to companies that voluntarily agree to adopt and integrate the program's security guidelines into their supply chains. The program is open to all parties participating in the movement of international goods, including carriers – ocean, air, rail and truck; importers, foreign manufacturers, brokers, consolidators, ocean transportation intermediaries, port authorities and terminal operators. The World Shipping Council and its member companies were pleased to participate in the development of the program. All WSC members are enrolled in C-TPAT today. Learn more at CBP's C-TPAT Website.

Container Security Initiative (CSI)

CSI, the Container Security Initiative, is a program through which U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) negotiates bi-lateral cargo security agreements with the governments of U.S. trading partners to establish procedures for screening and inspecting high-risk maritime cargo containers before they are loaded aboard vessels bound for the United States. CSI is now operational at 58 ports in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin and Central America. See the current ports in CSI. Read more from CBP on CSI.

On October 30, 2007, Christopher Koch President and CEO of the World Shipping Council testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on the progress of the SAFE Port Act, and provided an update on a number of U.S. programs, including CSI. Read testimony.

Supply Chain Security Programs - European Union

Authorized Economic Operators (AEO)

The European Community's Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program took effect on January 1, 2008. The stated purpose of the program is to provide certain benefits to certified traders (Authorized Economic Operators/AEOs) that voluntarily agree to adopt and integrate the AEO program's security and other criteria into their supply chains.

The AEO status may be granted by an EU Member State to any economic operator who, in the course of its business, is involved in the import, transport or export of goods to or from the customs territory of the Community, and who has been certified to meet the AEO criteria.

AEOs may benefit from simplifications provided for by the customs rules and/or facilitation with regard to customs controls related to security and safety, according the type of AEO certificate they obtain. The European Commission issued Guidelines for Authorized Economic Operators.

Learn more about how and where to apply for AEO status.

The European Commission also maintains a database of economic operators that hold a valid AEO certificate and have agreed to the publication of their details. Access the Commission's database.

Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number

A single registration number for economic operators that engage in customs activities in one or more Member States in the European Community has been mandatory since 1 July 2009.

This single registration number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification/EORI number) must be used by any economic operator that does Customs business within the European Community. This requirement applies irrespective of whether such an economic operator is established in or outside the European Community.

For liner shipping companies, the EORI number will not only be required in the future mandatory advance cargo filing, but must also be included in arrival manifests and summary declaration for temporary storage.

Official information published by the European Commission on the EORI number, including Guidelines and an e-learning tool, is available here

Supply Chain Security Issues

Supply chain security has improved significantly without impeding the flow of commerce however there are some programs which could undermine that progress. Although driven by the U.S., their implementation would have implications throughout the global supply chain.

U.S. 100% Scanning Law

The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-53) included a provision mandating 100% inspection of all air and sea cargo entering the United States, The World Shipping Council, the European Commission and many others opposed this provision on the grounds that it was not clearly considered, would be extremely impracticable to implement, and is unnecessary given U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) risk based container targeting systems.On April 2, 2008, WSC President and CEO Chris Koch testified before the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee on container security challenges and the 100% scanning law. Read testimony.

The European Commission's paper published in February 2010 on the 100% scanning law is available here.

Secure Container Technology

The World Shipping Council and its member companies continue to provide feedback and assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the development of container security technologies.The WSC is also monitoring the ongoing work on container security devices at the International Standards Organization (ISO).WSC and member company representatives participated in August 2009 in a DHS S&T container security technology demonstration. The S&T officials repeatedly stated that their objective was not to propose new U.S. security requirements, but to assess the capabilities of current container security technologies to establish open architecture standards.