Congress to address port security

Published 23 December 2008

Chairman of a congressional panel returns from a visit to Honk Kong, Vietnam, and the Philippines and says Congress should make a decision next year on whether or not to move toward a 100 percent container inspection policy

U.S. Representative David Price (D-North Carolina) will have emphasize port safety next spring when he holds new congressional hearings on DHS spending. Price, who represents a Chapel Hill district, recently returned from Hong Kong, where DHS is testing a program to do 100 percent screening of cargo bound for the United States. The program, called the Secure Freight Initiative, aims to determine whether it is feasible to test 100 percent of incoming cargo for nuclear material.

The New York Observer reports that while some officials are pushing to screen all cargo coming into the United States, others want a more affordable option of using random sampling of cargo for testing. “We’re still figuring out how to do this in a way that protects the country and in a way that we can manage and afford,” Price said in an interview.

Price is chairman of the House spending subcommittee on homeland security and led a congressional delegation to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the Philippines. He said port security will be a chief focus in the new Congress next spring.

Two North Carolina ports — Morehead City and Wilmington — accept international cargo.