Port offices expanded to process TWIC cards at Long Beach, Los Angeles

| 3/23/2009

Many major U.S. ports are about to begin mandatory enforcement of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, and at least one office will be working rapidly to activate many TWIC cards.

Enforcement began at the Port of New York on Monday, March 23. And on April 14, enforcement will begin at ports in the Captain of the Port zones of Guam; Houston/Galveston; Los Angeles and Long Beach; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Port Arthur, TX.

To keep up with demand, TSA announced that a temporary TWIC processing office at Los Angeles and Long Beach has opened as of Monday, March 23. All scheduled TWIC activation appointments at the twin ports will be at:

TWIC Activation Center
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802

The activation center is scheduled to be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A news release described the center as being located in a blue, single-story building in front of the Queen Mary ship.

For more information, click here.

The TWIC program eventually will require an estimated 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.

According to TSA’s Web site, as of Monday, more than 800,000 TWIC cards have been issued, and more than 1 million workers have enrolled.

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.

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.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer