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American Shipper

U.S. CUSTOMS TO DEPLOY PERSONNEL IN EUROPEAN PORTS

U.S. CUSTOMS TO DEPLOY PERSONNEL IN EUROPEAN PORTS

   U.S. Customs will deploy personnel in European ports, including Le Havre and Rotterdam, to enhance their international program to tighten security, senior executives of the Port Authority of Le Havre said.

   “They are considering having American representatives in European ports to have an enhanced security system,” said Jean-Pierre Lecomte, chairman of the French port’s port authority.

   Next week, two U.S. Customs officials will arrive in the port of Le Havre, where they will be assigned on a long-term basis. A delegation of U.S. Customs also visited the port in April to examine how the port of Le Havre controls access to its terminals and checks the contents of containers.

   “Our cooperation with them is total,” Lecomte said. “Security is a major issue for us,” he added.

   Lecomte said that the port of Le Havre tightened its security a few years ago to deal with the problem of stowaways.

   U.S. and Canadian Customs already have a reciprocal security cooperation program under which their staff works in the other country’s ports.

   Jean-Marc Lacave, managing director of the Port Authority of Le Havre, said that there are still discussions at the International Maritime Organization about maritime security that will deal with port security aspects.

   “We are not at the final point on this,” he said.

   He called for a degree of harmonization of security measures among European ports. He disagreed with the need to have a “white list” of secure European ports that would be treated differently from other ports by U.S. authorities.

   “We have to have the same answer (to the security problem) everywhere,” Lacave said. “Otherwise, we’ll have a distortion of competition based on security.”

   “The cost of security is high,” he said.

   The port of Le Havre sad that it was the first European port to have introduced a container scanner, back in the mid-1990s.

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