Maritime Security Not Meeting Requirements
We previously posted about the 100% air cargo screening requirement going into effect December 3, 2012. Another related issue is maritime security and the requirement for 100% of all ocean cargo to be scanned. This requirement was initialized back in 2007 with legislation having to do with the 9/11 Commission Act, and the law stated that 100% of ocean borne cargo containers entering the United States would have to be scanned by July 2012.
Many people are criticizing the Obama administration for dropping the ball on meeting this deadline and claiming that there was never any intention to meet the deadline or to fulfill the requirements in the future. The reasons for the deadline not being met include lack of funding along with not having the right technology to handle this monumental task.
The reason that this law was put in place was to protect against terrorism. There are concerns that there have not been enough precautions put in place to guard against bombs and weapons arriving in cargo containers. The discussions should not be about should we do or not, but how do we make it happen and increase security because a single attack on an American port could result in thousands of deaths according to the Congressional Research Service.
There is currently a layered-based approach for ocean cargo scanning that categorizes low to high risk shipments and treats them accordingly. Some people are claiming that this is not satisfactory and needs to be changed to be in compliance with the law put in place back in 2007. On the other hand, many are concerned about how 100% ocean cargo scanning would impact efficiency of global trade, and they claim that adjustments need to be made in other areas of supply chain security instead.
Regardless of the reasoning, the government had been given 5 years to create and implement a new and safer system for maritime security. Discussions are occurring too late since the deadline has already passed. Why was this not discussed and resolved sooner? Maritime security is not a place to take risks, and hopefully solutions will come about to begin cooperating with the 100% ocean cargo screening requirement in the near future.