Monday, September 12, 2011

How the Events of 9/11 Affected the US Freight and Logistics Industry

A Personal View from the Heart of the Tragedy
Shipping News Feature

US – And so it seems the 10th anniversary of the twin towers tragedy in New York has passed relatively undisturbed by terrorist action despite raised security levels and a tangible feeling of trepidation. So how have the terrible events of a decade ago affected the freight industry, particularly at the heart of the disaster? A statement issued by GAC New York’s Port Manager Lisa Doherty, sums up the changes wrought by what has often been referred to as ‘America’s wake up call’. Here we publish the viewpoint of someone who has had to work within the rapidly changed landscape of port logistics in the Big Apple.

“Even before 11 September 2001, operations in the Port of New York and New Jersey always involved challenges. But after the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the demands faced by the shipping industry increased drastically throughout the United States. As a direct result of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security - along with other local, state and federal agencies - implemented a raft of stringent regulations that have had a dramatic impact on the maritime industry.

“Heightened port security means that Captains must file an Electronic Notice of Arrival (ENOA) in advance. Failure to provide this information to the U.S. Coast Guard 96 hours before arrival will - without a doubt - increase the likelihood of the ship being held out of port for up to four days, at great cost. Not only do the ships and crew come under close scrutiny from the US authorities, so does the cargo. Carriers are required to provide details of cargo being brought into the USA to US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) well in advance of the ships arrival.

“Automated Manifest System (AMS) regulations require any ship carrying cargo into any US port, either for discharge or in transit, to submit an electronic cargo manifest to US CBP. Bulk and break bulk vessels must transmit their manifest within 24 hours of arrival at their first US port; all other vessels must transmit 24 hours prior to loading. However, CBP has a requirement that for all ships the departure date and time from load port must be filed within 24 hours of departure from the load port. We recommend our customers that it is best to submit the AMS with preliminary data on departure and submit an amendment afterwards, if necessary.

“Even a decade after 9/11, legislation continues to develop and evolve to counter the threat of terrorism. Since January 26, 2009, container lines and their customers have to submit an Importer Security Filing (ISF) 24 hours prior to loading. This is commonly known as 10+2 filing as it requires importers to submit 10 data elements about the shipment and the carrier to submit a further two.

“The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code was created by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the wake of 9/11, defining much stricter security measures for both terminal operators and seagoing vessels. Further, the Transportation Workers Identity Credential (TWIC Card) has been implemented by the Department of Homeland Security to ensure access to ports and terminals is restricted only to those who have passed the necessary background checks.

“Once, matters like shore leave, deliveries across the dock and easy access to vessels were simple and routine. But times have changed. A greater burden is now placed on owners, Masters, crews and agents. Repatriating crew from the US to their homeland now involves a complex process that, in certain ports, requires off-signers to be on a flight and have left the country before the ship has set sail.

“Those extra measures have increased everybody’s workload. Masters rely on their ship agents to know all the regulations and guide them. Daily operations now involve more notifications, advance information and a whole lot more energy to ensure that everything is done properly, effectively and according to law.”

Photo: GAC’s Lisa Doherty in her working environment.