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18 March 2003

Container Security Initiative Now Operational in Singapore

(Bonner says CSI essential to securing trade from terrorists) (760)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner
says the Container Security Initiative (CSI) is now operational in
Singapore, the largest transshipment port in the world for cargo
destined for American ports, according to a March 17 news release from
the U.S. Customs Service.


Bonner said the CSI is "essential to securing global trade against
terrorist exploitation."

Singapore's port now joins the already operational CSI ports of
Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, and Antwerp in Europe and
Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax in Canada, the news release says.

Following is the text of the news release:

(begin text)

U.S. Customs Service

Singapore, the World's Busiest Seaport, Implements the Container
Security Initiative and Begins to Target and Pre-Screen Cargo Destined
for U.S.

(Monday, March 17, 2003) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced today that the Container
Security Initiative (CSI) is now operational at the port of Singapore,
the largest transshipment port in the world for cargo containers
destined for U.S. ports.

The port of Singapore joins the already operational CSI ports of
Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, and Antwerp in Europe,
Singapore in Asia, and Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax in Canada.

"CSI is essential to securing global trade against terrorist
exploitation. The CSI security blanket is now expanding and
strengthening as it encompasses the port of Singapore, the first port
in Asia and one of the largest ports in the world," said Commissioner
Bonner. "We are getting CSI implemented in those ports that have
signed on. We will continue to deploy teams to other participating
ports as quickly as possible."

Singapore is the first CSI port in Asia. CBP has deployed a small team
of 5 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Singapore. These
officers will work jointly with authorities in Singapore to pre-screen
and target high-risk cargo containers bound for the U.S.

The port of Singapore is one of the world's largest. While it ranks
second to Hong Kong as a transshipment port, Singapore ranks as the
world's busiest port overall. As such, Singapore is positioned at a
key crossroads in the global trading system with a high potential for
detecting items of concern. Approximately 80 percent of the containers
handled in Singapore are transshipments. Last year, roughly 330,000
sea cargo containers entered the United States from the port of
Singapore.

CSI is an initiative that was developed by U.S. Customs in the
aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Now within the
Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) is continuing to implement CSI at major ports around the world.
Under the CSI program, a small number of CBP officers are deployed to
work with host nation counterparts to target high-risk cargo
containers. Its purpose is to protect containerized shipping from
exploitation by terrorists. Containerized shipping is a critical
component of global trade because most of the international trade
moves or is transported in containers.

To date, 18 of the top 20 ports have agreed to join CSI and are at
various stages of implementation. These ports are points of passage
for approximately two-thirds of containers shipped to the United
States. They include (by container cargo volume): Hong Kong, Shanghai,
Singapore, Rotterdam, Pusan, Bremerhaven, Tokyo, Genoa, Yantian,
Antwerp, Nagoya, Le Havre, Hamburg, La Spezia, Felixstowe, Algeciras,
Kobe, and Yokohama.

CSI consists of four core elements: 1) using intelligence and
automated information to identify and target high-risk containers; (2)
pre-screening those containers identified as high-risk, at the port of
departure, before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using detection
technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) using
smarter, tamper proof containers.

Globally, over 48 million full cargo containers move between major
seaports each year. Each year, more than 6 million containers arrive
in the United States by ship.

"Now that we have nearly achieved our goal for CSI at most of the top
20 ports, we will be expanding CSI to other ports that ship
substantial amounts of cargo to the United States, and that have the
infrastructure and technology in place to participate in the program,"
Commissioner Bonner said.

Most recently, the governments of Malaysia and Sweden have joined CSI.
In Europe, CBP is looking to expand CSI to at least 11 additional
ports.

The CSI initiative supports the "Cooperative G8 Action on Transport
Security" adopted by G8 in June 2002.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)