... While industry group says requirements could hurt economy

Putting radio frequency identification tags on trucks and requiring transportation workers to acquire government-issued ID cards could actually hurt the U.S. economy, according to an executive experienced in port security.

Robin Lanier, executive director of the Waterfront Coalition, an association of shippers, transportation providers, port authorities and others involved in the transportation supply chain, told an audience at the Maritime and Port Security Summit at George Washington University that there is considerable resistance from business elements in the supply chain to these technologies. The summit was sponsored by King Publishing Inc.

'There is enormous pushback from the drayage community,' the trucking companies that transport containers from ships to distribution centers, to putting RFID sensors on their vehicles, 'even though the terminal operators will pay for the tags,' Lanier said. Their resistance is likely due to the number of illegal immigrants they employ, she said.

The move to add RFID also is seen as a first step toward implementing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, the Transportation Security Administration's program. TWIC will require all workers in the various transportation modes'trucking, bus, rail, aviation and maritime'to undergo background checks in order to obtain ID cards, she said.

'When TWIC goes into effect, we're going to have an enormous shortage of truck drivers,' Lanier said.

With many of the nation's ports already operating at capacity and facing labor shortages, Lanier warned that they are in deep trouble now.

'I don't see any relief in sight,' she said
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