China Signs On To Container Security Initiative
Agreement expands the CSI to the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen
WASHINGTON, DC - The People's Republic of China has formally joined the Container Security Initiative (CSI).
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and Mu Xinsheng, Commissioner of the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China, recently signed a declaration of principles in Beijing, formally initiating joint efforts to target and pre-screen cargo containers shipped from the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen to?US ports.
The CBP will deploy small teams of officers to be stationed at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen to target sea containers destined for the US. Shanghai and Shenzhen Customs officials, working with CBP officers, will be responsible for screening any containers identified as a potential terrorist risk.
Last year, Shanghai handled a total of 5.6 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and is expected to handle 10 million TEUs annually by the year 2005, when five new berths currently under construction should be ready.
By 2010, Shanghai will be able to handle 20 million TEU annually, according to sources in Beijing.
The port of Shenzhen, located in China's Guangdong province, came close to surpassing Los Angeles as the world's seventh biggest container port last year.?
The port handled over 5 million TEUs last year. In the first half of this year, more than 3.2 million TEUs passed through Shenzhen's terminals, up 49.7% from the same period in 2002.?
The CBP, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, has implemented the CSI at major ports around the world.
Under the CSI program, a small number of CBP officers are deployed to work with host nation counterparts to target high-risk cargo containers. Its purpose is to protect containerized shipping from exploitation by terrorists.
CSI consists of four core elements: first, the use of intelligence and automated information to identify and target high-risk containers; second, the pre-screening those containers identified as high-risk, at the port of departure, before they arrive at US ports; third, the use using detection technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and fourth, the utilization of smarter, tamper-evident containers.
To date, 19 of the world's top 20 ports have agreed to join CSI and are at various stages of implementation. These ports are points of passage for approximately two-thirds of containers shipped to the US.
The CSI is now operational in 15 ports including Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong, G?org, Felixstowe, Genoa, La Spezia, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.
Last month, Bonner and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that the CSI will be expanding to strategic locations beyond the 20 initial major ports to include areas of the Middle East such as Dubai.
CBP is also coordinating agreements with ports in Latin America, and other major ports in Asia and Europe.
The governments of Malaysia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have also joined CSI. In Europe, CBP is looking to expand CSI to at least 11 additional ports to include the Italian ports of Livorno, Gioia Tauro, and Naples.
The CSI initiative supports the "Cooperative G8 Action on Transport Security" adopted by G8 in June, 2002.
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