Dept. of Homeland Security: Singapore to scan U.S.-Bound cargo as part of secure freight initiative

Contacts For This News Release
Lynn Hollinger
Port Security, Trade
Phone: (202) 344-1780
Fax: (202) 344-1393

Singapore – The United States and Singapore today arranged to cooperate on the Secure Freight Initiative, a joint effort of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of State aimed at keeping radioactive weapons out of U.S.-bound cargo.

Singapore is a key location for this scanning. Among worldwide seaports processing containers with goods destined for the U.S., Singapore is first world-wide in terms of volume of transshipments, and sixth in terms of the volume of shipments and containers imported. In fiscal year 2006, for example, the country processed more than 375,000 shipments bound for the U.S., constituting approximately 3.68 percent of all shipments here.

Singapore will initially participate in the Secure Freight Initiative in a limited capacity. However, even this limited participation goes beyond the mandate of the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act) of 2006. That law required that the U.S. evaluate, at three initial ports, the possibility of scanning 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo for radiation.

The port of Singapore is part of the second group of international ports evaluating integrated cargo radiation detection and non-intrusive imaging capabilities in Phase 1 of the Secure Freight Initiative. Fully operational testing of Secure Freight Initiative equipment began October 12, 2007 at Port Qasim, Pakistan; Puerto Cortés, Honduras; and at the Port of Southampton, United Kingdom.

The second group of ports will provide radiation detection and imaging capabilities on a limited capacity basis that exceeds the requirements of the SAFE Port Act. In addition to Singapore, these facilities include: Hong Kong’s Modern terminal; the Gamman terminal at Busan, Korea; and Oman’s Port Salalah. These facilities were chosen to help determine the impact of radiation scanning at large volume ports, as well as at ports where a large number of transshipments are processed. Phase 1 results will provide guidance on future port expansion.

At Singapore, as at other ports, data from Secure Freight Initiative scanning and imaging equipment will be provided in near-real time to CBP officials on-site, as well as to officials at the National Targeting Center in the United States for analysis and automatic integration with U.S. systems.

In March 2003, the port of Singapore was designated a Container Security Initiative port. For more than four years, CSI officers have used manifest examinations and other information to determine whether x-ray and radiation detection equipment should be used to examine U.S.-bound cargo. The Port of Singapore began participating in Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Megaports Initiative in spring, 2004. The Secure Freight Initiative expands the use of radiation scanning and imaging equipment to examine more U.S.-bound containers, not just those determined to be high-risk.

Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.