Sen. Murray announces $28 million cargo security plan

| 8/9/2002

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) recently announced a $28 million pilot program called "Operation Safe Commerce" to provide an end-to-end security procedure for commercial cargo containers.

"We don't know much about what's in cargo containers, where they've come from, or where they're going," Murray said. "It's clear we need a system to help track and monitor container cargo from the point of origin to the ultimate destination."

The plan calls for cataloguing and inspecting U.S.-bound cargo at the ports of Singapore and Hong Kong and enabling U.S. authorities to track the shipments through their entry into Seattle and Tacoma and on to their final destination, either by rail or truck.

Commenting on the proposal, Todd Spencer, vice president, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said monitoring trucks to their final destination is not needed.

"While we applaud Senator Murray's efforts in making certain that all container cargo is inspected before it enters the United States, monitoring and tracing those containers after they've been inspected wouldn't increase security," Spencer said. "In fact, it would significantly increase costs for transportation providers. If terrorists can get a dirty bomb or container filled with anthrax or small pox into the United States, national security has already been breached."