U.S. Port Authorities oppose ban on foreign port operators

Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 05:09 PM

The competing interests involved in producing "homeland security" are on full display these days.  Not only do many business entities resist efforts to tighten border security, and the chemical industry resists efforts to tighten security of chemical plants, but the American Association of Port Authorities just voted to oppose the "National Defense and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act," introduced earlier this month in the House, which would require all U.S. port terminal operations to be managed by a U.S. entity, while mandating inspection of all cargo coming into the United States.

 Susan Monteverde, the association's vice president for government relations, said in an interview Wednesday that the bill is unrealistic, and that AAPA supports having foreign companies manage terminal operations, even if they are owned by a foreign government.  The majority of U.S. port terminal operations are currently managed by foreign companies, some private, others government-owned.


When it comes to inspecting cargo, the association supports the strategy now used by the Homeland Security Department, which calls for scanning and inspecting high-risk containers, Monteverde said. The group would like at least one new provision added to pending legislation that would allow port authorities to be reimbursed for personnel costs.