Cargo security summit seeks industry input

Cargo security summit seeks industry input

The Homeland Security Department is working with industry to develop a strategic plan for its role in enhancing cargo security.

Dozens of cargo industry executives are gathering with DHS officials in Washington for the Homeland Security Cargo Summit today and tomorrow to brainstorm ways to improve security.

'Almost on an ad hoc basis, there have been initiatives that Congress has promoted, some that [DHS] has promoted,' departing DHS secretary Tom Ridge told a standing-room-only audience this morning. 'They've been solid, they've been effective' but we have to look down the road a bit. What's the outcome we're looking to achieve five years down the road?'

To help the department answer that question, experts are discussing key aspects of cargo security, including:

  • DHS data collection and analysis efforts for risk assessments across the supply chain, including completing the Automated Commercial Environment, the project to overhaul the federal government's import tariffs and fees system

  • Technologies and processes for validating container 'stuffing,' when containers are loaded overseas with goods being shipped to the United States

  • The future of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, the currently voluntary program for companies to undertake improved security steps, and how government can encourage businesses to take stronger measures

  • Screening and detection technologies and processes

  • Technologies for ensuring the security of containers while en route, including radio frequency identification and electronic seals

  • Encouraging adoption of standards internationally.

The Homeland Security Institute, a federally funded group that researches domestic defense issues, has issued a draft white paperon national cargo security strategy.

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