Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


AAPA says U.S. ports have more work to do on security

Testifying today on behalf of AAPA before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Rooney said that America’s seaports are safer than they were when Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Safety Act (MTSA) a decade ago.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 11, 2012

Prior to 9/11, security was not a top concern for most U.S. ports, said Bethann Rooney, member of the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) Security Committee, chairperson of the AAPA Port Security Caucus, and security manager at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

“That changed in an instant after that tragic day, and Congress and the Administration took quick and decisive action to help focus on the risk to our seaports,” she said. “Enhancing maritime security and protecting our ports from acts of terrorism and other crime remains a top priority for the AAPA and U.S. ports authorities.”

Testifying today on behalf of AAPA before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Rooney said that America’s seaports are safer than they were when Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Safety Act (MTSA) a decade ago.

However, she was quick to note that major challenges still exist in areas such as fully funding the federal Port Security Grant (PSG) program, upgrading Department of Homeland Security (DHS) threat detection equipment at ports and completing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card reader evaluation and testing process. ??Rooney told attendees of the hearing, entitled “Tenth Anniversary of the Maritime Transportation Security Act: Are We Safer,” that while the DHS has made tremendous progress in accurately and thoroughly assessing risk threats at ports, there is still room for improvement.??

“We commend the U.S. Coast Guard for an excellent job in enforcing regulations, conducting vulnerability assessments and developing vessel and facility security plans to secure the nation’s ports,” she said.  “However, while the Coast Guard has developed a robust and comprehensive Maritime Security Risk Assessment Model, or MSRAM, the model isn’t being used uniformly by all federal agencies that assess risk in the maritime environment.??“MSRAM,” she continued, “should be made available in an unclassified version, on a limited basis, to regulated facilities and vessels to conduct detailed risk assessments of their own facilities or vessels using the same scoring criteria that the Coast Guard uses. This provision was included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 by the 111th Congress but has not been implemented.”??

On the topic of port security grants, Rooney pointed out cuts to the program in the last few years and urged Congress to fully fund the PSG program again “so that our ports continue to be a priority in our country’s war against terrorism.” Citing the importance of the program,  Rooney noted AAPA’s strong opposition to a proposal to merge all critical infrastructure grant programs, such as those for port security, transit, intercity rail and emergency management, into one that would be managed by the states.  The association also opposes the 25 percent cost-share requirement for public agencies that receive port security grants. ?

In reflecting on a move to shorten the performance period to two years between the time a port is awarded a grant and the time it must spend the money, Rooney requested the committee’s assistance to ensure the performance period is no less than three years.?

Regarding the subject of DHS screening and scanning equipment at ports, Rooney said that fiscal constraints on federal authorities that own, operate and control this equipment has shifted the cost burden of installation and upkeep onto the ports and their terminal operators. She estimated that one project at her port is forcing the terminal operator to shoulder $2.5 million in engineering, permits, infrastructure and related costs, while DHS is contributing only $750,000. 

“That is not a very equitable ‘cost share’,” she remarked, adding that ports should be able to use grant funding in such cases.??Rooney addressed issues related to the TWIC program, saying that the lack of a final TWIC card reader specification and certification process makes it impossible to identify cards that have been reported as lost, stolen, revoked or suspended, while the lack of an updated threat assessment could compromise the security of port facilities.  She also asked the committee to consider a list of five future MTSA enhancements, ranging from requiring TWICs to be displayed on a worker’s outermost garments, to setting minimum-security standards for maritime support services, such as supply vessels, bunker providers and launch operators.

About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) August edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business saw its PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, fall 1.6 percent to 51.1, following a 0.8 percent decline to 52.7 in July. Even with the relatively slow growth over the last two months, the PI has been at 50 or higher for 31 consecutive months.

Hackett observed in the new report that China’s economy has lost steam, with actual growth falling short of targeted rates, while the United States most recent second quarter GDP reading at 3.7 percent outpaced expected targets, even though it was negatively impacted by gains in manufacturing and retail inventories.

The proposed merger of Cosco and CSCL could spark further container consolidation

The average price dropped 4.7 cents to $2.514 per gallon, which now stands at the lowest weekly average price for diesel since July 2009, when it was at $2.542 the week of July 27, 2009, according to EIA data.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in June dropped 3.8 percent annually to $99.0 billion. This followed a 10.8 percent decline in May to $92.7 billion.

Article Topics

News · Ocean Freight · Ocean Cargo · Security · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA