Long Beach port TWIC rollout set for mid-December
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced that workers at the Port of Long Beach will begin enrollment in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program starting Dec. 12.
The neighboring port of Los Angeles, also expected to start enrollment in December, was not one of the six ports mentioned in the latest schedule. The two adjacent ports, which together comprise the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere, are considered by most in the industry, including the dockworkers and truckers which move from jobs at one to the other freely, to be one port.
The TWIC program requires workers seeking unescorted entry into the ports to receive a thorough federal background check, be cleared by DHS and display a federally issued TWIC card.
A recent study commissioned by the ports found that up to 22 percent of the ports' drayage fleet drivers, or about 3,400 drivers, would not apply for a TWIC card, and thus be ineligible to enter port facilities. The study also found that another 20 percent of the drivers were uncertain if they would apply for the card.
According to port-commissioned and academic studies, drayage drivers in the Southern California ports are largely Hispanic, with a large percentage being recent legal immigrants. Most studies of the Southern California drayage fleet accept that some of the drivers would not pass a TWIC background check due to immigration status, though the number of illegal immigrant drivers has never been accurately quantified. Estimates have ranged from 5 percent to more than 30 percent depending on the study.