Truckers and other port workers will be required to have Transportation Worker Identification Credential cards to enter ports in the New England region by mid-October and at all other U.S. ports by April 2009, the Transportation Security Administration announced Friday, May 2.
Previously, the TSA had a deadline of Sept. 25, 2008, for TWIC compliance.
The TWIC program requires more than 1.5 million port employees, longshoremen, mariners, truckers and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports to have background checks before being issued cards with their biometric data and residency documentation.
The New England ports, including the Port of Boston, and Northern and Southeastern New England, will require TWIC for unescorted port access by Oct. 15, a TSA-issued statement read.
“These three ports were selected based on favorable conditions that facilitate near-term implementation,” the statement read. “These ports are ideal for initial compliance based upon geographic proximity, the size of their TWIC enrollment population, and respective enrollment efforts to date.”
Nationally, TWIC cards will be required for truckers and other port workers by April 15, 2009.
Eventually, TWIC cards could also be used an accepted standard for truckers to get into warehouses and trucking yards inland.
Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, though workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as HAZMAT, Merchant Mariner Document or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) 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 website at www.tsa.gov/twic.
The TWIC program has been ridiculed by politicians for missing repeated implementation deadlines and running up costs of more than $100 million, according to the Government Accountability Office.
TWIC administrators also came under fire after it was discovered they’d miscalculated the number of employees who needed to enroll, doubling a previous estimate of 750,000 workers to 1,500,000.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer