Cargo cuffed: Drivers find TWIC isn’t yet an all-access pass

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 3/10/2008

Wesley Oye took his recently obtained TWIC card along with him to make a drop in Massachusetts.

Oye, an OOIDA member from Mazomanie, WI, is one of more than 120,000 truckers and other port workers who have applied for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as the TWIC card. Eventually, the biometric data card will be required for all workers who need unescorted access into secured areas of ports.

“I figured it’s going to be necessary in the future so I just went ahead and did it,” Oye told Land Line.

Before heading back home, Oye was offered a well-paying load to be dropped at the Port of Newark.

After calling the port, however, Oye found that the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is one of several ports around the nation that have yet to allow TWIC participants access to secure areas, choosing instead to continue relying on local port credentialing.

TWIC’s background checks and documentation requirements make the program ideal to replace local credentialing systems, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told Land Line.

Four ports in the NY/NJ system have been enrolling since the New Year, though the federal government has not yet announced when possession of TWIC cards will be mandatory for unescorted access.

The New York and New Jersey ports will stop using the $25 SeaLink ID card program when DHS requires unescorted truckers and other port workers to possess a TWIC card, said Steve Coleman, a port authority spokesman.

“We’ve been one of the ports around the country that’s been pushing hard for (TWIC),” said Coleman. “Once the TWIC card goes into effect, truckers would have no need for the SeaLink card – you won’t need double credentialing.”

New York and New Jersey aren’t alone.

The Port of Miami has an $80 credential, though it offers $8 day passes.

The Port Authority of Georgia requires identification badges but is looking to change its credentialing process with TWIC in mind, a spokesman told Land Line by e-mail.

Oye said he hopes to be able to rely on TWIC as his single-point access to haul break-bulk on his step deck trailer to and from ports across the nation, though he’s not sure every port will drop use local credentialing and ID cards.

“My own personal opinion,” Oye said. “They’ll probably keep SeaLink for a long time. They might accept TWIC eventually, but I doubt it will be anytime soon.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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