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Schumer: Over $5.2 Million For Cargo Security Program For The Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey

Schumer announces funds for third phase of pilot program which will assess current security procedures for cargo entering the countryFederal grant program, Operation Safe Commerce, administered by Department of Homeland Security

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced $5,200,700 for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The funding will be used for a DHS pilot program, Operation Safe Commerce, which is working to secure cargo at major ports around the country.

I am very pleased to announce this funding for Operation Safe Commerce, Schumer said. The cargo entering our nations ports is among our greatest vulnerabilities, especially here in New York, and this program will allow our bustling ports to more effectively secure cargo being shipped here from all over the world.

The Port of New York is the largest and busiest port complex on the East Coast, housing nearly 10,000 ships per year. In 2004, the number of loaded and empty containers handled in the Port of New York and New Jersey measured in 20foot equivalent units (TEUs) totaled 4,478,480 TEUs, a 10.1 percent increase over the 4,067,812 TEUs handled in 2003 and a new annual record. The Port ImportExport Reporting System (PIERS) reported in 2004 that loaded containers that year totaled 3,147,203, an 11.7 percent increase over the 2,818,557 loaded TEUs handled in the port in 2003. Imports and exports totaled 2,221,417 and 925,786 TEUs respectively.

Schumer has long been an advocate of increasing security at our nations ports. His efforts to secure the nations ports include his own bill in 2003 to provide federal dollars for the Homeland Security Department to use for improving port security, and recent amendments to the 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill and the Intelligence Bill that would have dramatically increased funds for port security grants and research. In addition, Schumer and other members of the Senate Democratic leadership team have introduced legislation this Congress to give ports more than $3 billion for security upgrades.

As part of the Department of Homeland Securitys effort to secure cargo as it moves though the port, Operation Safe Commerce is a pilot program working in conjunction with the Department of Transportation. The program brings together private business, ports, local, state, and federal representatives to analyze current security procedures for cargo entering the country. The program aims to expedite research and development for emerging technology to monitor the movement and ensure the security and integrity of containers through the supply chain. The ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey are participating in the pilot program.