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Senate bill seeks to secure U.S. ports, containers


Yesterday, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act of 2005 (S. 2008), which aims to secure U.S. seaports and cargo, and prevent lengthy port shutdowns because of terrorist acts or security breaches.

The bill would establish the “GreenLane” comprising supply-chain participants who voluntarily meet the highest security level; set minimum container security standards; create the Office of Cargo Security Policy to ensure accountability and coordination of cargo security policies, procedures and regulations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies; and form a Joint Operations Center to coordinate responses to incidents. S. 2008 also would authorize $400 million in port security grants, and fund the Container Security Initiative and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

“Right now, there is a gaping hole in America’s security when it comes to the cargo entering our ports each day," said Murray in a prepared statement. “To protect our nation, we have to develop a cargo security system that closes vulnerabilities, provides a way to resume trade after an incident and maintains the efficient flow of commerce.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) backs the legislation.

“The port security grant program has always been woefully underfunded, paying less than one-fifth of what ports have requested for reimbursements of eligible facility security investments,” said AAPA President and Chief Executive Officer Kurt Nagle.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2005