• United States



by Dave Gradijan

DHS to Expedite Port Security Regulations

Apr 24, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The Department of Homeland Security is planning new regulations to improve cargo and port security beyond what Congress would require through legislation.

A Congress Daily article on reports that Stewart Baker, the assistant Homeland Security secretary for policy, said the department likes the legislation that is moving through Congress, but it’s also looking at rules for areas not covered by the bills. However, he did not specify what rules were being considered.

Baker said the DHS also wants foreign ports to improve their screening efforts before cargo is loaded onto American-bound ships, and it is considering whether new mechanical or electronic seals can be used to secure containers. Additionally, Baker mentioned a private-sector initiative in the port of Hong Kong to improve cargo screening, but with limitations.

The article states that through the initiative, every container moving through two port terminals is screened by a radiation detector, gamma ray X-ray and an optical character recognition system. Data of each container is stored on a database for inspectors to review.

Baker said the initiative shows that a lot of cargo can be moved through an advanced system, but there is no process to review information that was collected.

“If there’s a way to solve the problem of actually getting all that information together and setting it in the hands of somebody who can make a useful decision, then it’s a promising possibility,” Baker told the Congress Daily.

The bills currently moving through the legislative process would require the DHS to develop a strategic plan to “enhance international supply chain security for all modes of transportation,” as well as require the study of technology for electronic seals.

According to the article, the legislation would also require the DHS to maintain a grant program for improving U.S. port security. However, the DHS wants to create a Targeted Infrastructure Protection grant program where states would compete for funds to pay for improvements. Congress requested the DHS proposal.

For more on port security, read Peering Into Your Supply Chain and Customs Rattles the Supply Chain.

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 By Paul Kerstein