Layered Screening and You: The Emerging Cargo Standard
October 03, 2011
The Department of Homeland Security made waves in the security industry a few months ago by altering their stance on port cargo screening, moving from a 100 percent screening mandate to a “layered” security model. While we at Rapiscan are confident that we can support a 100 percent screening mandate, particularly due to our repeated successful deployments of 100 percent cargo screening solutions (including our installation at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico), we can also effectively support the layered model, as our own Peter Kant has pointed out in Maritime Executive.
Layered screening focuses heavily on intelligence gathering rather than blanket screening. In practice, this means that all shippers, even before they load their goods into a container, are inspected and shifted into various “buckets,” not unlike the oft-delayed Trusted Traveler program’s security tiers. These buckets would look something along the lines of “safe” for companies who submit to pre-screening inspections, “standard,” and “high-risk” for shippers that have a history of screening anomalies (or have no history to speak of).
Beyond this tiered ranking, the layered screening model also gathers intelligence at each stop during the cargo’s journey. This means that the actual response to the cargo at the destination port can vary according to what happens during the journey – was there an extended stop at a port known to harbor threats? Did anything unusual happen with crew personnel? Were there any unscheduled ports-of-call? Did anyone board/leave the vessel during the journey? All of these questions contribute to the screening method used at the port of destination.
Now, the million dollar question – does layered screening fully replace 100 percent screening? In short, no. 100 percent screening is still 100 percent screening – every cargo container, no matter its background, is screened for threats, making it highly unlikely that an anomaly could slip through the security net. But layered screening is still a viable option, although it could shine most brightly when paired with 100 percent screening, adding an additional component to ensure port safety and security.
Category: Homeland Security | Port Security | Technology & Screening Solutions |