Security of goods in transit is not a new issue. Ever since the dawn of ocean freight, well before the dawn of the spice trade, traders have had to worry about piracy. And many hundreds of years before that, those who traded by land had to worry about outlaws, bandits, and raiders. However, ever since the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, the need for security has heightened – driven by a slew of new security regulations being introduced by countries around the globe.
Whereas back in the nineties all you had to worry about was the Customs Modernization Act of 1993 if you were dealing with the US or the Modern European Customs Code if you were dealing with the EU, today it’s a different story. In the US you have to deal with the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), International Trade Data System (ITDS), the Container Security Initiative (CSI), the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), and the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT); in Europe you have the Authorized Economic Operators and the forthcoming Modern European Customs Code; and in Asia you have to deal with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secure Trade in the APEC Region (APEC STAR).
Each of these acts has its own little caveats, and failure to comply with any act can result in delays, fines, and confiscated, and subsequently destroyed, shipments. Thus, it’s important to understand what these acts are and what they involve. For an overview, I’d suggest starting with the Customs and Security Primer over on the e-Sourcing Wiki. It has a brief description of what all of these acts are as well as starting points for further research. Furthermore, with your help, it will grow and improve over time.