A new study under way by the Homeland Security Department
has highlighted gaps in the nation’s cargo security.
The $75 million study is not scheduled to be released until
the fall, but portions of it have been uncovered by The Associated Press.
The AP reported the study – which used satellites and
monitors to track about 20,000 cargo containers arriving from Europe, Asia and
the Middle East – found that cargo containers could be opened secretly during shipment
to add or remove items without the knowledge of U.S. authorities.
The containers examined in the study were found to have
mechanical bolts that can be cut and replaced or doors that can be removed by
dismantling hinges, according to The AP.
The report found that these containers could be opened
aboard some ships during long trips to America. And some containers were found
to have stopped in rail yards in America that didn’t have fences and were in
high crime areas.
But the problems aren’t just limited to containers. The
report found that a warehouse in Maine was graded less secure than any in Pakistan, Turkey or Brazil.
Some of the problems outlined in the report involve security
conditions in other countries. Truck drivers in Brazil, for example, were
allowed to take cargo containers home overnight and park them along public
streets, according to The AP. And no records were kept for inspections
of some containers in Guatemala.
But it was not all bad news. The report did single out two
terminals in Seattle and Tacoma, WA, as having good security practices,
including using cameras and software to track both visitors and workers, The