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New Port Security Plan Gets Good Review

by Ray Lane
KING 5, September 2, 2004

SEATTLE -- For awhile now, plenty of people have said security needs to improve at the nation's ports. The report by the 9-11 commission even called it a weak spot in our national security.

A new plan to make the ports of Seattle and Tacoma safer is getting good initial reviews. It includes putting high-tech locks and sensors on thousands of cargo containers that indicate if they've ever been tampered with as they travel by trucks, trains and ships, eventually finding their way into the northwest and the rest of the United States.

It's being called "Operation Safe Commerce," a way to beef-up the security and efficiency of all the products that move through the ports.

The first round of tests that tracked how specially outfitted containers did is being declared a "resounding success."

Sen. Patty Murray helped get funding for the program, reiterating how complex and complicated it is to keep watch on all the cargo that's moves in and out of our nation.

"We cannot search every container that comes into our country. With $750 billion in cargo in more than 6 million containers a year, the haystack is just too big. Instead, we're using technology and intelligence to make the haystack smaller, and show us which containers are a security risk," she said.

"Through Operation Safe Commerce, Starbucks and other international companies can improve supply chain management while advancing homeland security. Importantly.. This technology may allow us security options in developing countries short of precautionary suspension of trade," said Starbucks Vice President, Francis D'Addario.

D'Addario spoke for a lot of other big companies concerned about getting their products from place to place, with the security of that cargo so important these days.

Members of the maritime industry, which moves all those containers around, say they're happy to see that their own people are helping design and improve this security plan for the ports.

The next step for Operation Safe Commerce will be a "stress test," which will see how many containers it'll take to challenge the system's ability to keep up.

Ray Lane, Columbian staff writer
New Port Security Plan Gets Good Review
KING 5, September 2, 2004

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