OECD Urges Tighter Container Security

A comprehensive international strategy for container security is needed to keep terrorists from tampering with cargo or setting up their own trade identities to ship dangerous materials, according to a report released last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (see GSN, May 21).

“Although elements of such a framework are emerging in different countries, regions and segments of global industries, a fully integrated approach has not been implemented anywhere in the world yet,” the report says, according to the CalTrade Report.

The weakest link in the transportation chain is container security during inland transport, according to the report, Container Transport Security Across Modes.

The report also concludes that the threat of weapons of mass destruction being delivered through an anonymous shipping container “has risen above other terrorist-linked threats to containerized transport and has become a principal driver of international transport security policy since 2001.”

The report focuses on two particular terrorist attack scenarios: a hijacking in which terrorists intercept and tamper with a delivery; and a “Trojan horse” situation in which terrorists adopt false identities in order to move dangerous shipments.

The organization recommends establishing “clear container handling rules; increasing security at rail yards, road stops and loading facilities; sealing containers with high-security mechanical seals; and other measures to minimize security risks.”

The report also calls for improvements in shipper responsibility, container security, inland security, and international rules and recommendations to tackle such threats, according to CalTrade.

Parties responsible for packing a container “are the most important link in the container security chain,” according to the report. “They should help to establish, and follow, clear container ‘stuffing’ and sealing protocols and initiate the start of a clearly auditable trail for all containers,” the report adds (CalTrade Report, June 12).

June 14, 2004
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A comprehensive international strategy for container security is needed to keep terrorists from tampering with cargo or setting up their own trade identities to ship dangerous materials, according to a report released last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (see GSN, May 21).