New Port Security Agreement with Pakistan – Is National Security Taking a Hit More Significant Than the Dubai Terminal Deal?

In my first article on the Dubai Ports World business deal, I made reference to the Container Security Initiative (CSI).   As reported by U.S. Customs Today

The CSI consists of four core elements. These are: (1) establishing security criteria to identify high-risk containers; (2) pre-screening containers before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using technology to pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) developing and using smart and secure containers.

The fundamental objective of the CSI is to first engage the ports that send the highest volumes of container traffic into the United States, as well as the governments in these locations, in a way that will facilitate detection of potential problems at their earliest possible opportunity. 

The second core element, pre-screening, is conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Security Department officials located at the port of origination.  As of December, 2005, there were 42 ports in 23 countries/city states, including UAE’s Dubai Port, that have implemented CSI and allow on-site inspection by U.S officials.

Now for the new agreement with Pakistan, that was signed at the conclusion of President Bush’s recent visit to Pakistan. According to the Daily Times of Pakistan, Pakistan and the U.S. have signed a Declaration of Principles on Integrated Cargo Container Control (IC3) for Port Qasim.  Prior to this agreement, Port Qasim containers were diverted to and scanned at ports in Hong Kong, Colombo, Sri lanka, and Salalah, Saudi Arabia before they are shipped to the U. S.  Two of these ports have implemented CSI and on-cite inspections.

So, how is this Port Qasim IC3 agreement different from CSI? First of all, Pakistan will be able to reduce its export costs to the U.S by avoiding a short stop at a CSI port. Secondly, and far more important,  just like the Pakistan government won’t allow our troops in their country, they have refused to “allow the posting of at least two officials of US Customs and Border Security Department at Port Qasim for monitoring of [the] scanning process of the cargo containers.”   Instead, Pakistan “has managed to convince the US authorities on the scanning supervision by via[sic] live video link by the customs authorities of Pakistan and the US.” 

How is this IC3 agreement good for our national security? We are going from on-site inspections at CSI compliant ports to remote video?



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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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