THE MAGAZINE

Cargo security

Three bills that would enhance seaport and cargo security are currently under review by lawmakers. One bill (S. 2297) introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would require that the Department of Homeland Security develop a strategic plan for integrating security for all modes of transportation through which intermodal shipping containers arrive, depart, or move in interstate commerce. The bill would also mandate that the portion of shipping containers physically inspected increase to no less than 50 percent by 2007. The measure has one cosponsor and has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. A related bill (H.R. 3455) introduced by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) would require that the Coast Guard establish standards and verification procedures for securing maritime containers. These would include standards for cargo seals and procedures to verify such seals when cargo containers are unloaded. H.R. 3455 has 13 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Another seaport bill (S. 2240) introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to call for funding of $800 million for grants to seaports. Such grants would be given to enhance security or increase the efficiency of the seaport without hampering security efforts. S. 2240 has no cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

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