ation sampling to radiographic imaging. The container’s original scanned image, taken at the original loading facility, could be compared with subsequent scans.

None of these coordinated measures and associated technologies, if fully developed and implemented, would guarantee success in eliminating all of the many vulnerabilities associated with the shipping-container logistics system, nor have the practicality and total costs of such an approach been fully evaluated. However, a layered system—even with several imperfect elements—would greatly increase the chances of deterring and intercepting threats. It would also allow enforcement authorities with intelligence about a threat to take quicker and more effective actions to identify suspect containers. Such a systematic and credible security system, which could be improved continually through the adoption of new technologies and techniques, would help reassure the public in the event of an incident and help contain disruptions in the critical logistics system by precluding the need for a complete shutdown.

SOURCE: Flynn (2000a, 2000b, 2001) and Leeper (1991).

Angeles, Long Beach, Newark-Elizabeth, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Singapore—offer points of leverage for designing a security system that encourages shippers to load containers in secured facilities and take other related steps to expedite the movement of their cargoes through the megaports and the logistics stream. Because these ports are so critical to the container shipping industry, such requirements may become the de facto standard in short order. Shippers that choose not to comply may be denied access to the megaports or be subjected to greater scrutiny and its resultant delays.

The narrowing of the higher-risk traffic in this manner, supported by such capabilities as data mining and artificial intelligence (as described in more detail in Box 7.1), will allow authorities to make better use of their limited inspection, screening, and enforcement resources. In fashioning such a layered security system that begins early in the logistics stream, the prospects of a containerized weapon being intercepted before reaching the United States, and the chances of the act being deterred in the first place, are likely to be greater than under the current system of infrequent container inspections at destination ports and other border crossings. Moreover, it is quite possible that the side benefits of such a system, such as a decline in the use of shipping containers for the movement of contraband and the efficiency-related benefits of a sound shipment tracking system, would by themselves provide strong incentives for participants to continually maintain and enhance the system. A multilayered means of securing shipping containers, which will require considerable international and private-sector

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement