U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner unveiled the first Radiation Portal Monitors now operational at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The event was part of a seaport security summit
designed to acquaint port officials and the public with the pivotal role played by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in safeguarding the nation’s busiest seaport.
“When it comes to the continued vibrancy of the United States economy, it is safe to say that as the ports of LA and Long Beach go, so goes the nation,” Commissioner Bonner stated. “Today I am confident to say we are striving to meet the challenge of securing our ports against terrorists and their weapons, without choking off the flow of our vital trade.”
The recent recommendations that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff announced on July 13, called for “better systems to move people and goods more securely”. Bonner said, “Streamlining and flattening the DHS organizational structure will enable CBP to be even more effective in protecting our homeland”.
Commissioner Bonner, fresh from a major policy victory at the World Customs Organization in Brussels, Belgium, where the member nation’s adopted United States’ standards for cargo security, pointed to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as seaports where these standards are exemplified.
45 percent of all oceangoing cargo enters the U.S. through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “CBP uses a layered approach to security that begins before a container is even laded onto a U.S. bound vessel at a foreign port. And, our CBP officers are highly-trained and equipped to examine every container that arrives,” Bonner noted.
Part of the layered approach Commissioner Bonner outlined is the Radiation Portal Monitor (RPM) system, designed to detect any radiological emission coming from a vehicle or container. More than ninety will be installed in the ports of LA and Long Beach and will screen every container leaving the ports toward the major population centers. By the end of the year, Commissioner Bonner stated, every container arriving at California sea ports
and every private vehicle, truck or rail car coming into California through the land border crossings from Mexico will be monitored by these high tech devices.