Spero offers peek at Secure Freight Initiative
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will soon reveal more details about how it intends to use third-party data warehouses to sift all types of commercially available international cargo data to better screen risky shipments for inspection, Deborah Spero, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday.
In what likely was her last public speech to the trade community, Spero, who is retiring in August, told the American Association of Exporters and Importers conference in New York that a global trade exchange will be the third leg of the Secure Freight Initiative.
The concept of mining commercial trade data without necessarily having businesses pipe all the data to the government systems was first proposed by Deputy DHS Secretary Michael Jackson 18 months ago. Since then the department has rolled out a pilot program to test the concept of conducting integrated X-ray and radiation detection scanning of containers at foreign ports without the normal types of delays associated with such security measures. It also plans to collect a dozen commercial data elements from importers to help it target high-risk shipments for potential terrorist smuggling of mass destruction weapons and other contraband.
Spero only offered a brief glimpse at the global trade exchange concept, characterizing it as a place where both the private sector and governments could go to get information they needed for international logistics transactions.
The storehouse will be a place where “entities can send their information and the United States and other governments can take and use for their own purposes” what they need, Spero said.
Another advantage of a third-party data repository is that developing countries will have access to the same data for making security and duty compliance decisions about imports without having to invest billions of dollars in information technology systems to capture data from shippers and carriers, she said.
Spero received two, short standing ovations from the packed audience, and AAEI’s “Trade Warrior” award for her efforts to facilitate trade and help shippers move their freight in an agency that historically has often had an enforcement-first mentality.