U.S. CUSTOMSÆ CHIEF OF STAFF DEFENDS C-TPAT
The U.S. Customs Service's Customs-Trade Against Terrorism program, which has signed up 900 transportation companies, was 'not numbers-oriented' and will be closed to participants 'at a finite point,' warned Andrew Maner, chief of staff of Customs' office of the commissioner.
Bob Coleman, president of the Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Associations Inc., told Maner that C-TPAT 'was a warm and fuzzy program with no focus that had been started so Customs could show congress a list and say it had been doing something in dealing with security.'
The comments were made at the Western Cargo Conference in Las Vegas on Friday.
Maner said C-TPAT's focus was to get 'companies to voluntarily provide information for a security databank.' He denied Coleman's charge that Customs had threatened freight forwarders who had declined to participate in C-TPAT, but said, 'we are perplexed as to why anyone wouldn't want to participate. That raises questions that would fairly have to be pursued.'
Mark Johnson, deputy undersecretary of the Transportation Security Administration, told WESCCON delegates in a keynote address that the TSA was aiming for 'a market-based approach to security standards' building 'a mosaic' of pieces akin to the formulation of OPA after the Exxon Valdez incident.
'Turf fights and parochialism in Washington D.C. isn't making that any easier,' he explained.
Johnson told delegates that in determining who pays for security costs, 'the aviation model in which the federal government mostly pays can not be used for the maritime and landside, because the U.S. Treasury can't afford it. This is a fluid situation and it remains to be seen who will pay, carrier or shipper or some combination.'