New Security System Helps Protect Port of Portland Cargo

A new port security system integrates container security devices within a global information network, deterring theft, smuggling and international terrorism.

The Port of Portland is the first comprehensive installation of the CommerceGuard System on the West Coast. The system was developed by GE Security Inc.

"The Port of Portland is pleased to participate in a private sector initiative that will complement the extensive governmental efforts to secure marine cargo," said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the port. "In addition to making its facilities as secure as possible, the port is committed to helping its customers implement their own cargo security measures."

The CommerceGuard container security device (CSD) is positioned inside an international cargo container and registers any opening of the container door. Any unauthorized door opening is recorded as a tamper event, and alerts are routed to appropriate officials. Fixed and handheld readers at critical points along the supply chain, such as overseas and U.S. ports, collect container status from the device and report it using the CommerceGuard Information Network. Cargo owners, authorized logistics providers, and appropriate government authorities can securely access the information from any Internet browser.

The system meets the new requirements for container security devices specified in the Port Security Improvement Act of 2006. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who introduced an amendment to the Port Security Act of 2006 to require more rigorous security for containers, said he's pleased to see additional safeguards for cargo security at the port. Wyden's amendment specified that a container security device must positively identify a container, detect and record the unauthorized intrusion of a container, and secure the container against tampering throughout the supply chain.

"Ensuring the security of our ports is vital, both for public safety and for our region's economic well-being," said Wyden. "Requiring a state-of-the-art container security device, rather than a simple padlock, to secure expedited shipping containers, means we get safer ports and the added benefit of helping businesses move their cargo more quickly. That's the classic definition of a win-win situation."

Noting that West Coast maritime trade volume is on the rise, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said, "With over 10 million containers entering U.S. ports every year, this innovative approach is the kind of long term investment that will make businesses and Americans safer."

More than a dozen key international ports have adopted the CommerceGuard container security device and reader system. It has also undergone successful international trials with shippers including Yang Ming Lines and is in use by top importers.

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