Friday, August 27, 2010

Senators introduce Bill to Extend Port Protections, Anti-Terrorism Act

SENATORS COLLINS, MURRAY INTRODUCE BILL TO EXTEND PORT PROTECTIONS,
ANTI-TERRORISM ACT


Senators co-authored the original legislation in 2005; gain endorsements from many key groups

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced a bipartisan bill Tuesday that would extend the groundbreaking port security programs now in place in the United States.

The measure, “The SAFE Port Reauthorization Act of 2010,” extends anti-terrorism protections designed to safeguard the nation’s critical shipping lanes and seaports from attack and sabotage. Senators Collins and Murray coauthored the original SAFE Port Act in 2005; it was enacted the following year.

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Among other things, the bill would reauthorize the SAFE Port Act maritime cargo security programs that have proven to be successful. These include:

- The Automated Targeting System that identifies high-risk cargo;
- The Container Security Initiative that ensures high-risk cargo containers are inspected at ports overseas before they travel to the United States; and
- The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, that provides incentives to importers to enhance the security of their cargo from point of origin to destination.

The bill would also strengthen the C-TPAT program by providing new benefits, including voluntary security training to industry participants and providing participants an information sharing mechanism on maritime and port security threats, and by authorizing Customs and Border Protection to conduct unannounced inspections to ensure that security practices are robust. The cooperation of private industry is vital to protecting supply chains, and C-TPAT is a necessary tool for securing their active cooperation in supply chain security efforts.

Further, the bill would extend the competitive, risk-based, port security grants that have provided $1.5 billion to improve the security of our ports. The authorization for the next five years at $400 million per year is a continued major commitment of resources, but it is fully proportional to what is at stake, and a priority that we cannot ignore.

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Finally, the measure addresses the difficulties in administering the mandate of x-raying and scanning for radiation all cargo containers overseas that are destined for the United States by July 2012. That technology is not yet perfected. The bill would eliminate the deadline for x-raying 100 percent of containers if the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies the effectiveness of individual security measures of that layered security approach. This is a more reasonable method to secure our cargo until a new method of x-raying containers is proven effective.


For more information on C-TPAT, please contact Custom Trade Solutions at (619) 944-0375 or by email at info@customtrade.us