The Transportation Security Administration says only 60,000 truck drivers have enrolled in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, although several major ports are preparing to require TWIC cards next month.
In response, TSA has taken a nationwide approach and has begun a nationwide campaign aimed at over-the-road truckers and others who work at ports.
“Enforcement at your port begins Oct. 15. …If you access a secure area of a port of vessel as part of your job, chances are you will need a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a biometric card that ensures only vetted workers can enter without an escort,” reads a flier posted around the Port of Boston.
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, although New England ports plan to require TWIC cards by Oct. 15.
On Thursday, Sept. 11, seven ports announced they will require TWIC compliance for unescorted access through secure areas by Dec. 30, 2008.
The Dec. 30 compliance date applies to port zones at:
- Delaware Bay;
- Mobile, AL;
- Ohio Valley;
- Lower Mississippi River;
- San Diego
Eventually, TWIC cards could be an accepted standard for truckers to get into warehouses and trucking yards inland.
Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, although 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.
For the full list of planned TWIC enforcement dates by port, go to http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/public_compliance_groupings.pdf
Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist, told Land Line recently that truckers have been slow to enroll in TWIC as the federal government changed its mind on mandatory enforcement dates. Drivers who do enroll and possess a TWIC card, however, 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.”
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer