’Tis finally the season, again: TWIC activations come back online

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 11/17/2008

Computer servers for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential are back online after a near-monthlong disruption. Truck drivers and other enrollees should be able to activate their TWIC cards nationwide beginning this week.

On Oct. 21, a power outage wreaked havoc on servers maintained by the Transportation Security Administration, the agency administering TWIC. Since then, TWIC card applicants who had scheduled appointments weeks before have been turned away and told to wait for the computer system to come online.

Activation appointments are available nationwide, TSA announced on Monday, Nov. 17.

The TWIC program eventually will require more than 1.5 million truckers, port employees, longshoremen, mariners 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 most ports are implementing earlier mandatory TWIC enforcement.

TWIC cards could become the accepted standard ID for truckers to get into warehouses and trucking yards inland.

Several Land Line readers and listeners to the Land Line Now program on XM Satellite Radio have reported seeing signs for upcoming mandatory TWIC rules at some distribution centers and rail hubs.

Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, although workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as hazmat endorsements, Merchant Mariner Documents or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) cards 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 Web site at www.tsa.gov/twic.

Applicants can pre-enroll for TWIC to save an approximate five minutes of time spent waiting at enrollment centers.

Truckers have been slow to enroll in TWIC, though several upcoming mandatory enforcement dates at many U.S. ports have spurred many to sign up for the program.

As of Nov. 14, TSA had tallied 101,000 truckers and drayage drivers who have enrolled with the TWIC program.

The TWIC help desk is available at 1-866-DHS-TWIC.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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