Cargo containers and port security
| 03.15.2006 | 08:47:06 | Views: 2152 | ID:
March 15 '06: In many of the nation's largest ports, most of the containers coming in on ships with goods ranging from cars to food are not being checked according to USA Today which reported Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security "has only 69 mobile gamma ray trucks and enough drive-through radiation detectors to check just 37% of the millions of cargo containers that arrive at the ports each year.
Only 6% of the containers are ever physically inspected," USA Today reported. Those findings come after several weeks of headlines in which a United Arab Emirates-based company was to buy the contracts for security operations of several large US ports but ultimately withdrew their offer because of concerns from US lawmakers.In the Newark, New Jersey port, Kevin McCabe, a homeland security official told USA Today that the idea of inspecting all the cargo containers that come into the US is almost impossible - "we would cripple the economy" McCabe said. Instead, McCabe said homeland security officials decide which containers are "high risk" and then inspect those with gamma ray machines. Officials also stress that security at the port of origin is important in port security. By having better security practices in place when the cargo is loaded and shipped, security at the destination point can be improved. USA Today reported that in the Newark port, "just across the Hudson River from New York City, all the containers pass through radiation detectors on their way out." One of the programs used by the federal government to help port and container security is Operation Safe Commerce. OSC has almost $60 million in funding and was designed by former homeland secretary Tom Ridge to bring "together private businesses, ports, local, state, and federal representatives to analyze current security procedures for cargo entering the country." OSC is guided by the Transportation Security Administration under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Transportation helped with developing the program while US Customs and Border Protection will monitor the security operations.
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