PORT OF OAKLAND TO BEEF-UP SECURITY
OAKLAND - 12/02/05 - The Port of Oakland hopes to tap both ends of the technological spectrum to secure its maritime terminals from potential terrorist threats.
With $750,000 in state grants received earlier this year, the port has said it will acquire a new array of security equipment ranging from global positioning devices to hydraulic traffic barriers.
The equipment, slated for purchase next year, would allow the port to monitor the movement of trucks in and around its terminals, block all roadways leading to its berth areas, and patrol the waterways surrounding the fourth busiest container port in the nation.
Already on-line for a total cost of $196,000 are 2,000 radio frequency identification (RFI) devices that will be mounted on trucks using the port's maritime terminals. The devices would allow the port to monitor truck movement.
Initially, the devices would help the port discover whether trucks are using unauthorized routes to access the docks. Eventually, the RFI devices will be linked to terminal operators who could then use the information about a truck's position to plan for its arrival.
"This would allow the terminal operator to identify problems," a letter from the port said. "A virtual fence could be established along authorized truck routes or around restricted terminals, thereby allowing the port to identify and track vehicles that are violating restricted areas."
In addition to the tracking devices, the port would also install biometric thumbprint readers at its terminal gates to ensure that unauthorized people do not enter.
"It gives us an opportunity to not just address security but to also locate and identify trucks throughout the area," said a port spokesman. "It will have a dual purpose."
Stephanie Williams, executive director of the California Truckers Association, told several media outlets that the transportation industry group "doesn't have a problem with the devices," but questions why the port is using state money to pay for them.
Federal laws will force terminal operators to install the equipment within the next couple of years, she said. "It's already required by the federal government ... so it is interesting that the port is picking up the tab," she said.
The port has also said it will spend about $342,000 for equipment supporting the earlier purchase of mobile hydraulic traffic barriers. The barriers can be placed in the middle of port roads to prevent cars and trucks from passing.
With money from the state, the port also hopes to purchase portable lighting, generators, trailers and forklifts to make it easier to position the barriers on roadways.
"The objective of this category was to procure specialized equipment to complement and support the use of the port's Mobile Hydraulic Traffic Barrier system," a report recently published by the port authority said.
The port will also spend $25,000 to provide security training to its security officers and plans to spend $160,000 for a new patrol boat that will be operated and maintained to the Oakland Police Department.
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