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U.S. ocean container scans “deeply flawed”

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
June 04, 2014

As reported here this week, US authorities have again postponed the new rules which would require all cargo containers entering the US to be security scanned prior to departure from overseas.

The development was also praised by our UK trading partners. he British International Freight Association (BIFA) has said repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has consistently underestimated the enormity of the task in hand relative to the costs both to the U.S government and foreign governments, as well as, importantly, the limited ability of contemporary screening technology to penetrate dense cargo, or large quantities of cargo in shipping containers.

According to Peter Quantrill, BIFA’s director general, the use of systems available to scan containers would have a negative impact on trade capacity and the flow of cargo.

“Media reports suggest that the US government now doubts whether it would be able to implement the mandate of 100% scanning, even in the long term, and it would appear that it now shares BIFA’s long-standing opinion that it is not the best use of taxpayer resources to meet the US’s port security and homeland security needs,” says Quantrill. “We have always said that expanding screening with available technology would slow the flow of commerce and drive up costs to consumers without bringing significant security benefits.

The stop-gap measure to delay scanning is not enough to satisfy BIFA, however, which still believes that the US government should repeal the original legislation all together.

“That would be the most appropriate way to address this flawed provision and allow the department and the industry to continue to focus on real solutions, including strengthened risk-based management systems to address any security gaps that remain in global supply chains,” maintains Quantrill.


About the Author

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).

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