WORLD SHIPPING COUNCIL: INDUSTRY MUST HELP FIND ANSWERS ON SECURITY
The shipping industry, intermediaries and shippers must help the U.S. government find answers to questions related to security in the context of current regulatory and legislative reviews, said Christopher Koch, president of World Shipping Council, the Washington-based shipowner organization.
Koch told the annual congress of the Federation of International Freight Forwarders’ Associations in Cancun, Mexico, that maritime commerce is under careful scrutiny by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Customs Service and other government agencies.
“The challenge is complicated – how to ensure security, while still facilitating the smooth flow of international trade,” he said.
Tighter security will require all parties – shippers, carriers and intermediaries – to adjust. “We need to help the government develop answers to a range of questions that are under review,” Koch said.
He cited five questions:
* What the future and structure of “in bond” shipments will be?
* When and how must complete documentation be provided?
* Will “to order” bills of lading with no named consignee be re-evaluated?
* What is the best way for the various government agencies to coordinate their efforts and share information?
* Will identical documentation processes be required of NVOCCs’ shipments, and what will be expected of ocean carriers vis-'-vis NVO shipments?
Ocean carriers, shippers and third parties will need to cooperate – with each other and with governments – as security procedures are improved and refined for the international cargo transportation system, Koch warned.
“We can expect changes,” he said. “There will be less flexibility and less forgiveness in the system.” Just-in-time inventory strategies will require “re-examined safety margins.”
“Good business practices and good documentation will be essential, not just a nice option,” Koch stressed.
Koch said that the content of legislative and regulatory proposals on maritime security under review by the U.S. Congress and the regulatory agencies include:
* Proposals regarding the efficient organization of government security efforts and additional funding for port security improvements;
* Additional resources for the government to obtain and operate X-ray scanning equipment for screening cargo;
* Tighter screening and tracking of people within marine terminals, and
* Cargo documentation requirements.