House Passes 100% Cargo Screening

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 (Full Text PDF) today. While the bill contains many (many!) sections of interest to Long Beach includes funding for first responders, of particular concern to our local economy is Title V: ‘Strengthening The Security of Cargo Containers’.

Title V contains provisions which the goods movement industries have resisted and many experts have characterized as impractical and cost prohibitive. In specific, Title V provides that a container be allowed to entering the US “only if” it is screened and sealed with “the best available technology.” The Secretary of Homeland Security must establish standards which “scan a container for radiation and density and, if appropriate, for atomic elements”. The Secretary must also establish standards for seals which ‘detect any breach into a container and identify the time of such breach’. Further, the Secretary’s seals standards must be updated “whenever the technology becomes available” to “identify the place of a breach into a container; notify the Secretary of such breach before the container enters the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States; and track the time and location of the container during transit to the United States, including by truck, rail, or vessel.”

Unless substantially revised, Title V will go into effect three years after signing for countries of origin which shipped more than 75,000 TEUs in 2005, and in five years for all other countries.

The Port of Long Beach imported 3,346,054 TEUs in 2005; the Port of Los Angeles imported 3,881,326 TEUs in 2005.

See U.S. House Digest for a summary of other components of H.R. 1.