100 percent container scanning? Not going to happen

The 9/11 Act requirement that 100 percent of all U.S.-bound cargo containers be scanned is probably never going to be met. Meantime, foreign ports are set to get a blanket two year extension of the target date for such scanning, pushing it out to July 2014.

A new GAO report says that "uncertainty persists over how DHS and CBP will fulfill the mandate for 100 percent scanning given that the feasibility remains unproven in light of the challenges CBP has faced implementing a pilot program for 100 percent scanning. In response to the SAFE Port Act requirement to implement a pilot program to determine the feasibility of 100 percent scanning, CBP, the Department of State, and the Department of Energy announced the formation of the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) pilot program in December 2006. However, logistical, technological, and other challenges prevented the participating ports from achieving 100 percent scanning and CBP has since reduced the scope of the SFI program from six ports to one. In October 2009, GAO recommended that CBP perform an assessment to determine if 100 percent scanning is feasible, and if it is, the best way to achieve it, or if it is not feasible, present acceptable alternatives. However, to date, CBP has not conducted such an assessment or identified alternatives to 100 percent scanning. Further, as GAO previously reported, DHS acknowledged it will not be able to meet the 9/11 Act’s July 2012 deadline for implementing the 100 percent scanning requirement, and therefore, it expects to grant a blanket extension to all foreign ports pursuant to the statute, thus extending the target date to July 2014. To do so, DHS is required to report to Congress by May 2, 2012, of any extensions it plans to grant."


February 8, 2012