Port Authority turns to BearingPoint for security work

BearingPoint Inc. won a $5.2 million contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to implement the third phase of a program to improve security procedures for cargo that enters the United States, the company said this week.

Under Phase III of the Operation Safe Commerce project, BearingPoint of McLean, Va., will use technologies tested in the previous phase to monitor containers for any breaches. The technologies will improve the reliability of the containers and the stuffing and transit processes. The third phase will use a layered approach to security rather than rely on a single process, component or device, and will be subject to stress testing in high-volume trade routes.

Funded by a federal grant, Operation Safe Commerce is a public-private initiative that provides a test bed for evaluating container security techniques from points of origin through destination points while ensuring the efficient cross-border movement of legitimate commerce. The Homeland Security Department oversees the project, and the Office for Domestic Preparedness is the primary grant coordinator. The project also is being conducted at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California and Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state.

BearingPoint was awarded a contract in December 2003 to provide project management services for the early phases of the Port Authority's project efforts. The company evaluated business processes and technology solutions to increase security in the supply chain without disrupting the regular flow of trade.

U.S. seaports present distinct challenges for homeland security authorities. In a five-month investigation, GCN examined the obstacles officials face, the initiatives under way and how technology applications are being used to reduce security risks. Part I of GCN's special report looked at how ports are using technology to monitor the flow of cargo containers. Part II of the special report looked at measures officials are taking to control who has access to port facilities and concerns over how best to pay for port security.

Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication Washington Technology.

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