The Transportation Security Administration has released its plan to phase-in requirements of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential card at specific port locations for drivers and other workers needing unescorted access through secured areas.
Dec. 30 will be the deadline for TWIC compliance at port zones in Baltimore, MD; Delaware Bay in New Jersey and Delaware; Mobile, AL; the Lower Mississippi River; the Ohio Valley; Pittsburgh, PA, and San Diego, CA.
That means specific ports at Annapolis, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Camden, NJ; Gulfport, MS; Memphis, TN; Cincinnati, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and San Diego, CA, among others, will be enforcing the TWIC requirement before 2009.
The TWIC program will require 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.
Nationally, TWIC cards will be required for truckers and other port workers who need unescorted access into secure areas by April 15, 2009, though New England ports plan to require TWIC cards by Oct. 15.
TWIC enrollment is down, particularly among truck drivers, said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s regulatory affairs specialist. Many drivers may procrastinate with TWIC after TSA’s multiple deadline announcements and corrections, but drivers with TWIC cards will have an advantage, he said.
“Drivers should not ignore this absolutely looming reality,” Rajkovacz told Land Line recently. “For those who take it seriously there is likely to be more economic opportunity for them in the marketplace. As an industry, the vast majority of drivers have ignored that this is the coming reality in the nation’s ports.”
Replacement cards for those who lose or damage their TWIC card cost $60, according to the TWIC Web site at www.tsa.gov/twic.
For the full list of planned TWIC enforcement dates by port, go to http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/public_compliance_groupings.pdf.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
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