Some truck drivers wondering when to enroll for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program now have a timetable to work from.
Transportation Security Administration officials have released a plan to phase in requirements for TWIC cards at specific ports for drivers and other workers who need unescorted access to secure areas.
The TSA officials say the program requires more than 1.5 million truckers, port employees, longshoremen, mariners and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports to have background checks so that they can be issued TWIC cards with their biometric data and residency documentation.
Nationally, TWIC cards will be required for truckers and other port workers by April 15, 2009, although New England ports plan to require TWIC cards by Oct. 15.
On Oct. 31, TSA plans to roll out mandatory TWIC enforcement at ports in Buffalo, NY; Duluth, MN; Detroit, Lake Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan; Corpus Christi, and Port Arthur in Texas; and Cape Fear River, NC.
In December 2008 and January 2009, TSA plans require TWIC enforcement at ports in Long Island Sound, NY; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Jacksonville FL; Baltimore, MD; Delaware Bay, DE; Mobile, AL; Pittsburgh, PA; San Diego, CA; Hampton Roads, VA; Morgan City, LA; Miami, Key West and St. Petersburg, FL; and the Ohio Valley and Lower Mississippi River areas.
In February 2009, TSA plans to require TWIC enforcement at ports in Honolulu, HI; Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound, AK; Puget Sound and Portland, OR; and San Francisco Bay, CA.
TSA plans to target ports in New York, Guam, Houston/Galveston, Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Juan, TX, in March or April 2009.
Eventually, TWIC cards could be an accepted standard for truckers to get into warehouses and trucking yards inland.
Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50. However, workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as hazmat endorsements, Merchant Mariner Documents, or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) cards may obtain a TWIC card for $105.25. The card is designed to last five years.
Replacement cards for those who lose or damage their TWIC card cost $60, according to the TWIC Web site at www.tsa.gov/twic.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer