U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced
that the Container Security Initiative (CSI) becomes operational today at the port of Genoa, Italy.
CBP and the government of Italy signed a declaration of principles on November 7, 2002. As part of the CSI program, CBP has deployed a team of officers to the port of Genoa to work with host government personnel to target high-risk cargo containers destined for the United States
. Italian government officials are responsible for screening any container identified jointly with CBP officers as a potential terrorist risk.
The port of Genoa is the 14th CSI port to become operational. It joins the already operational CSI ports
of Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Göteborg, Felixstowe, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.
Containerized shipping is a critical component of global trade because most of the international trade moves or is transported in cargo containers. About 90 percent of all world cargo moves by container. In the United States, almost half of incoming trade (by value) arrives by containers on board container ships. Almost 7 million cargo containers arrive and are offloaded at U.S. seaports each year.
"I applaud the government of Italy for their strong support in helping to make a safer, more secure world trading system. CSI is essential in securing an indispensable, but vulnerable link in the chain of global trade: containerized shipping," Commissioner Bonner said.
Commissioner Bonner first proposed the Container Security Initiative in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. CSI is an initiative that was developed by U.S. Customs, now U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Now within the Department of Homeland Security, CBP is continuing to implement CSI at major ports around the world. Under the CSI program, a team of officers from CBP are deployed to work with host nation counterparts to target high-risk cargo containers.
On Thursday, June 12, 2003, Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced that CSI will be expanding to strategic locations beyond the 20 initial major ports to include areas of the middle east such as Dubai as well as Turkey and Malaysia. CBP is also coordinating agreements with Sri Lanka, key ports in Africa, ports in Latin America, and other major ports in Asia and Europe.
Most recently, the governments of Malaysia and Sweden have joined CSI. In Europe, CBP is looking to expand CSI to at least 11 additional ports to include Livorno, Gioia Tauro, and Naples.
"As part of CSI Phase II, we will be expanding CSI to other ports that ship substantial amounts of cargo to the United States, and that have the infrastructure and technology in place to participate in the program," Commissioner Bonner said.
Governments representing 19 of the top 20 ports have agreed to implement CSI. This includes an agreement with the government of Thailand, for the Port of Laem Chabang, which Secretary Ridge signed with Thailand's Foreign Minister on June 10.
The top 20 ports are points of passage for approximately 68 percent of cargo containers shipped to the United States. "CSI Phase II will enable us to extend port security protection to more than 80 percent - casting the safety net of CSI far and wide," Commissioner Bonner said.
CSI is the only formal program in operation today that is designed to detect and deter terrorists from exploiting the vulnerabilities of containerized cargo. CSI is also a reciprocal program. CBP offers CSI-participating countries the opportunity to send their customs officers to major U.S. ports to target cargo that is exported to their country via ocean containers. CBP will also share its information and pre-arrival data on a bilateral basis with its CSI partners. Sharing of information is intended to be a reciprocal process.
Japan and Canada currently station customs personnel in U.S. ports as part of the CSI program. Japanese customs personnel are stationed at the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Canadian Customs personnel are stationed at Newark and Seattle.
CSI consists of four core elements: 1) using intelligence and automated information to identify and target high-risk containers; (2) pre-screening those containers identified as high-risk, at the port of departure, before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using detection technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) using smarter, tamper-evident containers.
"The basic premise behind each of these elements is to extend our zone of security outward, so that the American seaports and borders become the last line of defense, not the first," Commissioner Bonner said.