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Homeland Security

Washington File

25 June 2003

Container Security Plan Implemented at Italian Port of La Spezia

(CSI now operational at 15 ports worldwide) (990)
La Spezia, Italy has become the 15th operational port under the U.S.
Container Security Initiative (CSI), U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced June 25.
CSI is designed to prevent the smuggling of terrorists or terrorist
weapons in ocean-going cargo containers by providing for the
deployment of customs officials trained to screen high-risk containers
prior to shipment.
"I applaud the government of Italy for their strong support in helping
to make a safer, more secure world trading system," Bonner said.
The other ports already operating under CSI are Rotterdam, LeHavre,
Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong,
Göteborg, Felixstowe, Genoa, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.
Following is the latest press release on the program:
(begin text)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
Office Of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003  
SECOND ITALIAN CSI PORT OPERATIONAL, LA SPEZIA TO BEGIN TARGETING AND
PRE-SCREENING CARGO DESTINED FOR U.S.
Washington, D.C. - 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 La Spezia,
Italy.
CBP and the government of Italy signed a declaration of principles on
November 7, 2002. As part of the CSI program, CBP deployed a team of
officers to the port of Genoa on June 16, 2003 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 La Spezia is the 15th CSI port to become operational. It
joins the already operational CSI ports of Rotterdam, LeHavre,
Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong,
Göteborg, Felixstowe, Genoa, 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.
CSI is an initiative that was developed by U.S. Customs, now U.S.
Customs and Border Protection, in the aftermath of the terrorist
attacks of September 11th. Now within the Department of Homeland
Security, Customs and Border Protection 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.
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.
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. 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 2, 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. CSI Phase 2 will enable us to extend port security protection
to more than 80 percent of all containers coming to the United States
- 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.
The CSI initiative supports the "Cooperative G8 Action on Transport
Security" adopted by G8 in June 2002.
Contact: Media Services
Phone: 202-927-8727 030-048
(end text)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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