Cargo security pilot slowly grinds to a close

Cargo security pilot slowly grinds to a close

A pilot to look for vulnerabilities in the security of U.S. seaports is beginning to provide lessons for strengthening them against terrorist attack, but it will be some time before the government can apply what it learned on a large scale.

The $75 million Operation Safe Commerce evaluation to assess security procedures in the nation's ports and supply chains is gearing up for the analysis phase. But one of the participating ports won't be finished with its assessment for several months, said Ken Concepcion, program manager for performance and compliance of transportation security grants in the Office of Domestic Preparedness at the Homeland Security Department. He spoke today before an audience of maritime and cargo security executives.

Grants were awarded in July 2003 to the nation's three largest container load centers'the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Seattle/Tacoma and New York/New Jersey. Concepcion said the Port of Long Beach will not submit its report until February or March.

'The purpose of [this] was not to have successes but to see how the supply chain operates,' he said. The ports also are conducting their own gap analyses of the elements in their supply chains to identify risks.

As part of the program, Concepcion said, the ports are assessing several technologies:

  • Cargo-tracking technologies such as electronic seals for containers, global position system tags and radio frequency identification tags

  • Intrusive and nonintrusive inspection systems

  • Systems for data mining and data clearinghouses

  • Biometrics and digital image monitoring.

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