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Monday, April 23, 2007

Maritime Security: Increasing port security in ...Mexico


If we're going to protect ourselves from security breaches through ports, we are going to have to help our neighbor to the south, as is set out here:
Mexico, one of the United States' biggest trading partners, is attracting special attention not only because many goods produced in Mexico are moved through the country's ports but also because some Mexican ports process Asian goods bound for the United States.

Lázaro Cárdenas, on Mexico's west coast with a direct rail line to the Texas border, is receiving more Asian cargo from shippers seeking an alternative to the busy U.S. ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
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Four Mexican ports – Altamira, Veracruz, Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas – will receive radiation-detection equipment under the plan announced last week. According to Mexican media reports, the value of the equipment, maintenance and training amounts to between $30 million and $50 million. A U.S. government representative would not comment on the amount.

Plans are under way to develop a megaport at Punta Colonet, 150 miles south of San Diego. The port is expected to be the size of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports combined.

Millions of cargo containers from throughout Asia are expected to be off-loaded at this new port each year, transferred to rail cars and shipped across the U.S.-Mexican border, probably at Yuma, Ariz.
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Security expert Flynn said the biggest opportunities come at the factory or when the load is being carried miles cross-country to a port. The possibility of tampering also exists whenever the container is shifted to another mode of transport, such as when cargo boxes are transferred from ships to trucks or rail cars at intermodal facilities.

“Goods at rest are goods in peril,” Flynn said. “Anytime the system is slowed down, it's an opportunity to put hands in the cookie jar.”

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