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US closes in on 100% container scanning

  • Friday, 03 August 2007 | News

The US Senate and House of Representatives have signed off on a new bill which calls for 100 per cent scanning of maritime cargo, before it is loaded onto vessels at foreign ports, to be required within the next five years. It now only remains for President George W Bush to sign the bill for it to pass into law.

The specifics of the bill include the introduction of increasing annual benchmarks of the percentage of cargo screened, and an analysis of the technology and extra personnel that will be required to reach the goal of scanning all US-bound containers.

Critics of these requirements have stated that the move will damage the United States' economy by introducing delays in the supply chain, with the US Chamber of Commerce going so far as to write to the House, stating its belief that the measures "would have a crippling effect on global trade without significantly improving security."

Others have suggested that possible retaliatory moves by other states in response to US action could slow up global trade even further, with serious consequences.

Supporters of the bill have suggested, however, that the incorporation of a five-year incremental adoption process will allow the industry to adapt to the requirements and install the necessary technology without too much disruption. The Department of Homeland Security has also been granted the power to extend this deadline by a further two years if it is deemed necessary.

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