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A task force established by Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia today announced recommendations to greatly enhance security at the nation’s 361 seaports, including the Port of New York and New Jersey, highlighting the need for mandatory cargo security standards, the appointment of a national official in charge of port security issues, and a port user fee to help offset escalating port security expenses.
The task force, a nonpartisan group of government and business officials, was formed to generate public discussion of port and cargo security matters and to provide recommendations that address current gaps in port and supply-chain security.
New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, “Since 9/11, the federal government has devoted extensive resources to better secure our airports and rail systems. However, our seaport – the busiest on the East Coast – has received far less attention even though it may be a more vulnerable terrorist target. The recommendations of this task force should serve as a road map for our national leaders to help make port security a greater priority and to devote the appropriate attention and resources to it.”
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Our ports are our gateways to commerce, and we must continue to look at innovative ways to better secure and protect our facilities. In partnership with the federal government, we must carry on our efforts to identify solutions to potential port vulnerabilities and to ensure that these solutions are expeditiously implemented.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Throughout their history, our nation’s seaports operated out of the public spotlight, even though they pose as much as or a greater security risk than the airports or railroads that people use every day. The federal government must realize the vulnerabilities that our ports face and work with us to identify new ways to reduce risks. Our task force has identified initiatives to enhance cargo and port security, and we will work to make sure this issue remains in the forefront of the public discussion.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The dramatic increases in cargo at our marine terminals in New York and New Jersey require us to be vigilant in protecting our facilities and the cargo they handle. This task force has identified specific actions that can be taken to minimize the risk to one of our nation’s greatest economic engines.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “The security of all of our transportation facilities remains one of our top priorities. At the seaports, we have invested more than $87 million since 9/11 to enhance security, but more must be done. We applaud the work of this task force to raise public awareness about port security issues.”
Among the task force’s recommendations are:
- The adoption of federal legislation sanctioning minimum mandatory cargo security standards that use innovative technology and business practices to monitor every cargo shipment.
- The presidential appointment of a National Port and Cargo Security Director, reporting to the Director of Homeland Security, who has ultimate responsibility and accountability for coordinating port and cargo security activities throughout the various federal agencies as well as the international community.
- Establishment of a nationwide “Port Security User Fee,” not later than January 1, 2008, dedicated exclusively to U.S. ports based on size, cargo volume and risk. This fee would be used to offset capital and operating costs incurred by port facility owners/operators associated with security installations and operations.
- Establish response and recovery plans that are unique to the regional environment of each U.S. port, allowing individual ports to return to “normal business” as efficiently as possible after a disaster. Mandate and conduct annual exercises that test the quality of each port’s response and recovery plans.
- Adopt federal legislation that requires every regulated maritime facility and Coast Guard Captain of the Port to implement a comprehensive risk-management plan that will form the basis for resource allocation decision making, similar to the protocols for other state, urban area and mass transit funding.
In addition to its primary recommendations, the task force identified other areas in need of attention, including the continued development of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program, which will provide a uniform credential for individuals who need unescorted access to restricted areas of port facilities.
The task force will continue to draw attention to port security in the future to ensure that solutions to some of the critical issues are developed in a timely manner.
The task force met several times throughout the year to learn about the complex supply chain and its current vulnerabilities. The meetings included a tour of port facilities and briefings by Stephen Flynn, a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; the United States Coast Guard; Customs and Border Protection and others.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.endPort Authority Port Security Task Force:
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano
Port Authority Commissioner David Mack
Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman
Port Authority Commissioner Anthony Sartor
Port Authority Commissioner Angelo Genova
Port Authority Commissioner Raymond Pocino
David Samson, a partner with Wolff & Samson PC
Virginia Bauer, New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission
Robert Catell, KeySpan Corp.
Art Ryan, Prudential Life Insurance Company
Kathryn Wylde, Partnership for New York City
James Tisch, Loews Corp.
John Degnan, Chubb Insurance
Ken Gilman, Asbury Automotive
Leon Black, Apollo Management
Henry Silverman, Cendant Corp.
Paul Fribourg, ContiGroup
Patricia Campos, UNITE HERE.