U.S. Customs wants a screening
plan for weapons of mass destruction on shipping containers extended
to Canadian ports. Customs warns that a failure to act could lead
to a crippling shutdown of ports around the world.
The United States is acting
on concerns that a terrorist group may be planning an attack by
detonating a nuclear device placed in a shipping container while
in an American port, Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner said Thursday
during a speech to the Center for Strategic and International
Bonner warned that port
shutdowns would severely impact the economies of the areas dependent
on containers and ships coming in, off-loaded and moved. In addition,
a worldwide economic collapse could result from this kind of attack
if U.S. conceived screening practices are not installed.
Officials are discussing
scenarios that would include the stationing of U.S. Customs agents
at Canadian ports to screen U.S.-bound shipments. Canadians may
also be dispatched to major U.S. ports to screen containers bound
Currently, only about 2
percent of the 16 million containers that enter the United States
each year are inspected. Only about 15 percent of containers entering
the United States from Canada are inspected.