The Container Security Initiative (CSI) was launched in 2002 by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. Its purpose was to increase security for container cargo shipped to the United States. As the CBP puts it, the intent is to "extend [the] zone of security outward so that American borders are the last line of defense, not the first."
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and is the country's primary border control organization. It is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration. CBP is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. It has a workforce of more than 45,600 sworn federal agents and officers. It has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a cabinet department of the U.S. federal government with responsibilities in public security, roughly comparable to the interior or home ministries of other countries. Its stated missions involve anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management. It was created in response to the September 11 attacks and is the youngest U.S. cabinet department.
In economics, cargo or freight refers to goods or produce being conveyed – generally for commercial gain – by water, air or land. Cargo was originally a shipload. Cargo now covers all types of freight, including that carried by train, van, truck, or intermodal container. The term cargo is also used in case of goods in the cold-chain, because the perishable inventory is always in transit towards a final end-use, even when it is held in cold storage or other similar climate-controlled facility.
Containerized shipping is a critical component of international trade. According to the CBP:
Containerization is a system of intermodal freight transport using intermodal containers. The containers have standardized dimensions. They can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another—container ships, rail transport flatcars, and semi-trailer trucks—without being opened. The handling system is completely mechanized so that all handling is done with cranes and special forklift trucks. All containers are numbered and tracked using computerized systems.
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.
Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They are a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport and now carry most seagoing non-bulk cargo.
As terrorist organizations have increasingly turned to destroying economic infrastructure to make an impact on nations, the vulnerability of international shipping has come under scrutiny. Under the CSI program, the screening of containers that pose a risk for terrorism is accomplished by teams of CBP officials deployed to work in concert with their host nation counterparts.
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.
A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, history, ethnicity, or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. A nation is distinct from a people, and is more abstract, and more overtly political, than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
CSI consists of four core elements:
Cargo scanning or non-intrusive inspection (NII) refers to non-destructive methods of inspecting and identifying goods in transportation systems. It is often used for scanning of intermodal freight shipping containers. In the US it is spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security and its Container Security Initiative (CSI) trying to achieve one hundred percent cargo scanning by 2012 as required by the US Congress and recommended by the 9/11 Commission. In the US the main purpose of scanning is to detect special nuclear materials (SNMs), with the added bonus of detecting other types of suspicious cargo. In other countries the emphasis is on manifest verification, tariff collection and the identification of contraband. In February 2009, approximately 80% of US incoming containers were scanned. In order to bring that number to 100% researchers are evaluating numerous technologies, described in the following sections.
The initial CSI program has focused on implementation at the top 20 ports shipping approximately two-thirds of the container volume to the United States. Smaller ports, however, have been added to the program at their instigation, and participation is open to any port meeting certain volume, equipment, procedural, and information-sharing requirements. Future plans include expansion to additional ports based on volume, location, and strategic concerns.
Much of the original idea behind the CSI program stemmed from the work of James Giermanski, who was an early proponent of Supply Chain Security.
James Giermanski is a specialist in Supply Chain Security and Container Shipping programs of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Former U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, former FBI (ret.)
The CSI program offers its participant countries the reciprocal opportunity to enhance their own incoming shipment security. CSI partners can send their customs officers to major U.S. ports to target ocean-going, containerized cargo to be exported from the U.S. to their countries. Likewise, CBP shares information on a bilateral basis with its CSI partners. Japan and Canada are currently taking advantage of this reciprocity.
CSI has also inspired and informed global measures to improve shipping security. In June 2002, the World Customs Organization unanimously passed a resolution that will enable ports in all 161 of the member nations to begin to develop programs along the CSI model. On 22 April 2004, the European Union and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement that calls for the prompt expansion of CSI throughout the European Community.
47 foreign CSI ports are operational as of 2006-09-29. They include:
There are currently 58 foreign ports participating in the Container Security Initiative, accounting for 85 percent of container traffic bound for the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Currently Operational Ports
In the Americas
In Asia and the Middle East
This article incorporates text from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's pages and documents on the Container Security Initiative, modified for a more global perspective.
“Customs” means the Government Service which is responsible for the administration of Customs law and the collection of duties and taxes and which also has the responsibility for the application of other laws and regulations relating to the importation, exportation, movement or storage of goods.
A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access from the sea via river or canal.
Robert Cleve Bonner is an American former prosecutor, former United States District Judge, former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and former Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology, a retired partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former Chair of the California Commission on Judicial Performance.
Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) is a Hong Kong-based container shipping and logistics service company.
DP World is a global port operator that was founded in 2005 by a merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International.
Supply-chain security refers to efforts to enhance the security of the supply chain, the transport and logistics system for the world's cargo. It combines traditional practices of supply-chain management with the security requirements driven by threats such as terrorism, piracy, and theft.
Jayson P. Ahern is the former Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He was Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations from March 2003 to August 2007. He managed an operating budget of $2.2 billion and directs the activities of more than 25,000 employees, including more than 19,000 CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists, and oversees the programs and operations at 20 Field Operations offices, 317 ports of entry and 14 preclearance stations in Canada and the Caribbean. He was responsible for Immigration Policy and Programs that includes all immigration issues related to the admission and exclusion of aliens as well as the Agricultural Inspection at all Ports of Entry to protect the health of U.S. plant and animal resources and the facilitation of their movement in the global market place.
Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is a federal law enforcement agency within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). AMO is the world's largest civilian aviation and maritime law enforcement organization. Its mission is to protect the American people and nation’s critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of air and marine assets to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs, and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States. Air and Marine Operations Agents and Officers are endowed with the authority to enforce Title 8 and Title 19 (Customs) of the United States Code in addition to the general law enforcement powers bestowed upon federal law enforcement agents.
Port security refers to the defense, law and treaty enforcement, and counterterrorism activities that fall within the port and maritime domain. It includes the protection of the seaports themselves, the protection and inspection of the cargo moving through the ports, and maritime security.
The Dubai Ports World controversy began in February 2006 and rose to prominence as a national security debate in the United States. At issue was the sale of port management businesses in six major U.S. seaports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and whether such a sale would compromise port security.
The Office of Field Operations (OFO) is a federal law enforcement agency within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) responsible for managing United States customs operations at 20 Field Operations offices, 328 ports of entry, and 16 pre-clearance stations in Canada, Ireland, the UAE, and the Caribbean. Headed by a CBP Assistant Commissioner, OFO directs the activities of more than 27,000 employees, including more than 22,000 CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists. CBP Office of Field Operations is the largest component in CBP. It is headed by Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen.
The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) is an Act of Congress enacted by the 107th United States Congress to address port and waterway security. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 25, 2002.
The concept of border security in the United States of America shares a complex relationship with the persistent threat of terrorism. Border security includes the protection of land borders, ports, and airports. The relationship is unique in the sense that the federal government must constantly reevaluate and tweak its border security policy to address the perceived threats posed to the United States through the form of human terrorism or the smuggling and detonation of a weapon of mass destruction.
The Global Trade Exchange (GTX) is, or was, a controversial Homeland Security intelligence project, related to maritime-ports data-mining, being one of three pillars of the Safe Ports Act-related Secure Freight Initiatives. The Global Trade Exchange has a mysterious history dating from conception in 2004, a 2007-2008 year of hype, and sudden placement on "hold" status. Described as a ready-to-buy, commercially available database, the GTX was rush-funded by Congress as part of and championed relentlessly by then-United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in evident disregard of objections of confused and frustrated U.S. private sector trade groups. After a year-long spate of official support, media hype, and after award of Congressional funding of $13 million, the GTX was put "on hold for further study by the [U.S.] Navy" in April 2008, for reasons still yet to-be explained. Touted by senior U.S. officials and Congress in 2007 as an anti-terrorism database for tracking long-haul shipping containers, the Global Trade Exchange's principal focus appears to have a different focus, notably advance trade-finance information for market-making purposes.
The Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program and part of the SAFE Port Act of 2006. It uses non-intrusive Inspection (NII) and radiation detection technology. It also gathers data to measure trade activity for risk-management and protection of United States international trade. The Secure Freight Initiative builds on the current partnership between the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Department of Energy's Megaports Initiative.
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced a new rule, known as the Importer Security Filing (ISF) or more commonly called 10+2; which requires containerized cargo information, for security purposes, to be transmitted to the agency at least 24 hours (19 CFR section 149.2 before goods are loaded onto an ocean vessel headed to the U.S. for shipment into the U.S. 10+2 is pursuant to section 203 of the SAFE Port Act, and requires importers to provide 10 data elements to CBP, as well as 2 more data documents from the carrier.