Thursday, September 10, 2009

Security in the Modern Sea Container Industry

European Commission VP Speaks Out on Transatlantic Trade
Shipping News Feature

BREMEN, GERMANY – Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission spoke today with regard to the ongoing problems of balancing container security against the necessity to continue and encourage trade between the US and Europe.

Mr Verheugen pointed to the $600 billion per annum bilateral traffic and the threat posed by trade barriers and over zealous security methods. He illustrated the need to ensure every method possible was employed, including the new data tracking capabilities to tighten security without restricting trade. He proposed the US considered alternative methods to 100% scanning which he felt could impede or discourage the movement of cargo.

In the speech Mr Verheugen, who is also co-chairman of The Transatlantic Economic Council, the body established in 2007 between Europe and the US to integrate and facilitate an unhindered trade, spoke out against protectionism whilst identifying the American desire to maintain security. It was, he said, necessary for both parties to seek out and employ a new Secure Container Data Device Standardisation which the Council was investigating with a view to introduction as soon as feasible but that no one single measure or technology should be relied upon. Emphasis should be put on main port security (including containers), sea border surveillance, unregulated land border surveillance and check points and extended smart borders and also on the security of the supply chain.

The continuity of trade was vital as the supply chain must secure the availability of the basic needs of our society, impacting on a variety of aspects, such as energy security, availability of foodstuffs, water and the management and transport of waste.

Further points touched on during the address were the better organization and protection of hazardous materials in transit, the need to assist and modernise world economies damaged by a myriad of factors including industrial level overfishing, desertification of farming areas and political problems. These factors were the cause of poverty and consequent social unrest leading to things such as the new wave of piracy in regions of Africa.

Mr Verheugen’s view is that the EU had a responsibility to avoid repairing symptoms and to first understand and then repair the problems holistically. This meant EU security research must be mission orientated and not technology driven.He said the TEC provided the US and Europe with a unique political platform to address the most important of global challenges.