TWIC: 18 ports begin TSA ID card enforcement Tuesday

| Monday, January 12, 2009

The federal government’s new biometric ID card will be enforced at 18 ports beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 13.

The TWIC program eventually 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 although most ports are implementing earlier mandatory TWIC enforcement.

TWIC will be enforced at the following ports beginning Tuesday:

  • Baton Rouge, LA;
  • Houma, LA;
  • Lafayette, LA;
  • Morgan City, LA;
  • New Orleans;
  • Port Fourchon, LA;
  • South Louisiana (in LaPlace, LA);
  • Key West, FL;
  • Miami, FL;
  • Palm Beach, FL;
  • Port Everglades, FL;
  • Port Manatee, FL;
  • Tampa, FL;
  • Peoria, IL;
  • St. Louis, MO;
  • Newport News, VA;
  • Norfolk, VA; and
  • Kansas City, MO.

Problems with TWIC enrollment have spurred TSA to allow many ports to accept alternative identification until certain dates for workers who have applied but not yet received their TWIC card.

TSA has granted some truckers and other port workers the right to use alternative ID until later dates. Until Feb. 13, port workers who haven’t yet picked up their activated TWIC card may use alternative ID at ports in the regions of Hampton Roads, VA; Morgan City, LA; New Orleans; Upper Mississippi River, MS; Miami; Key West, FL; and St. Petersburg, FL.

Acceptable proof of activation-ready TWIC cards includes:

  • Printing the e-mail, sent by TSA during notification process that their TWIC is ready for pick-up.
  • Providing the facility security officer with the applicant’s TWIC application ID number, which can be checked on www.twicinformation.com.
  • Provide the facility security officer with the worker’s first and last name. That information will be checked using the password-protected portion of homeport.uscg.mil.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been critical of several TSA processes during the TWIC rollout, including the price of enrollment and the ability of foreign nationals to access ports without background checks required by TWIC applicants from the U.S. One filing of the Association’s comments on TWIC can be found here.

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.

According to TSA, as of Friday, Jan. 9, 801,831 workers nationally had enrolled in TWIC. Of those, 734,341 cards have been printed and 578,676 had been activated. About 136,000 truck drivers have enrolled.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

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