What lies ahead for port security?



Wise Media S.p.A.,


How are the port and maritime industries taking firm action to bolster their security infrastructures? Port Technology International features an interview with three experts in the field, ahead of their participation at ID World International Congress in November, to get their view on the state of security. The participants are: Sophie B. de la Giroday, President of Wise Media and organiser of the Transportation Security Forum (ID World), Ernie Scheerlinck, Managing Director of Seagha, Ports of  Antwerp and Zeebrugge and Jürgen König, General Manager of vps ID Systeme, the company that provided the ID management system for Port of Felixstowe’s state-of-the-art biometric worker identity credentials.

Sophie B. de la Giroday, what are the major security threats that ports are faced with?

As a direct result of the events of 9/11 and terrorist attacks on merchant and Navy vessels, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to issue the  International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS) code. These recommendations have been accepted through the EU as part of public law. The assumptions and fears were that under some circumstances ships could either be used as instruments for a terrorist attack on a port or to transport Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Other security threats that ports and port facilities are faced with include pilferage and unauthorised access.

How rapidly are new security measures being put in place to combat these threats? With what consequences?

The ISPS Code was initiated by the IMO and adopted it in 2002 for implementation by 1 July 2004. The main objectives of the ISPS Code are to detect secur ity threats and implement secur ity measures, to establish roles and responsibilities concerning maritime security for governments, local administrations, ship and port industries at national and international level, to collate and promulgate security related information and to provide a methodology for security assessments so as to have in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels. As a consequence of ISPS, ports areas are now treated as ‘security sensitive zones’ and are no longer to be accessible by anonymous third parties.

What about the aspect of cargo security?

Concer ning cargo and asset tracking, new maritime security regulations and measures are being adopted to increase not only security of the individual port but also security of the supply chains in our global transportation network. Companies trading in Europe, for instance, will be required to be Authorized Economic Operator  (AEO) certified with effect from 1 January 2008 if they are to avoid ongoing delays with their shipments, increased audits and face difficulties trading with the US. AEO allows Customs authorities to grant the status of AEO o any business that satisfies EU criteria. This leads to the creation of co-called ‘green lanes’ for the quick  processing of security screening of imports and goods shipped and moved by trusted parties. AEO’s will include all exporters, importers, freight forwarders, airports, seaports integrators. AEO status will become effective from 1 January 2008. Failure to secure certification could result in lost business, an increased risk profile for customs and lengthy delays at borders.

Ernie Scheerlinck, who is in charge of developing the security infrastructure at ports? Who are the main stakeholders involved?

It is important to understand that no two ports are alike as far as operational methods and/or responsibilities are concerned. There are ports that are completely  organised and operated by a ‘Port Authority.’ In this case it is obvious that the Port Authority will take care of dealing with any security requirements. With other ports, such as the port of Antwerp, the authorities act as regulatory bodies and the responsibility to comply with security requirements lies with the private companies who have obtained leases and/or concessions to operate within the port. This explains the ‘Alfapass’ project in the port of Antwerp, which is clearly an initiative of the private sector within the port.

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