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American Shipper

Civil, military leaders discuss port recovery

Civil, military leaders discuss port recovery

Allen

   Top U.S. Coast Guard, transportation and industry officials met three weeks ago in Colorado Springs, Colo., to start discussions on the military's role in resuming maritime trade in the event of a man-made or natural disaster at a U.S. port, Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen said Tuesday.

   The talks build on contingency plans and protocols established during the past eight years by the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs for port recovery or heightened security measures, such as communicating to industry the operating status of facilities and potential wait times, diversion of marine traffic to alternative ports, and restoration of navigational aids.

   The meeting was hosted by U.S. Northern Command and included U.S. Transportation Command, the Maritime Administration and representatives from ocean transportation, ports and waterfront labor unions, Allen said at the American Association of Port Authorities' spring conference in Washington.

   It was the first step in integrating the work done by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies with Defense Department plans for getting a port back in operation.

   TRANSCOM's primary interest is ensuring ports are open so it can move military equipment and supplies to overseas bases and combat theaters while Northern Command has responsibility for providing assistance to civil authorities following a catastrophe. The leaders discussed how military forces would be used to reopen a port, Allen said. ' Eric Kulisch