GAO: Customs and Border Protection Needs a Plan For Container Scanning
December 03, 2009
According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not been making progress under the 9/11 Commission Act, which requires 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo containers to be scanned by 2012.
The Customs and Border Protection has not achieved sustained scanning rates above five percent at comparatively larger ports.
As a result, the GAO recommended the CBP conduct a feasibility analysis, cost estimates, and cost-benefit analysis and present the results to Congress.
According to the Journal of Commerce
, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., asked that the GAO conduct the study.
"CBP has made limited progress in scanning containers at the initial ports participating in the SFI (Secure Freight Initiative) program, leaving the feasibility of 100 percent scanning largely unproven," the report said. "Since the inception of the SFI program, CBP has not been able to achieve 100 percent scanning at any participating port. While CBP has been able to scan a majority of the U.S.-bound cargo containers at the comparatively low volume ports, it has not achieved sustained scanning rates above five percent at the comparatively larger ports.
According to the report, while CBP has developed a strategy to expand SFI to select ports where it will mitigate the risk of weapons of mass destruction entering the U.S., it has not come up with a plan to scan 100 percent of U.S.-bound container cargo by 2012. In addition, the agency has not conducted a feasibility study of expanding 100 percent scanning, which is required by the SAFE Port Act.
"Such an analysis could help both CBP and Congress determine the most effective way forward to enhance container security," the report said. "CBP does not have a plan to scan cargo containers at all ports because, according to agency officials, challenges encountered thus far in implementing SFI indicate that doing so worldwide will be difficult to achieve."
To access the full report, click here