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Containing the Threat: Protecting the Global Supply Chain Through Enhanced Cargo Container Security

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Publication Date: October 2007

Publisher(s): Reform Institute

Author(s): Robert Kelly

Topic: Transportation (Maritime industry and transport)

Keywords: Supply chain; cargo security

Type: Brief

Abstract:

The maritime transportation system is the centerpiece of a global supply chain and accounts for the movement of more than ninety percent of global commerce. Along with bulk cargo and tank ships, the overwhelming majority of goods, raw materials and component parts are shipped in cargo containers that move by sea. The adoption of the container as the principal means of transporting non-bulk cargo has had an unanticipated consequence: as the containerized cargo system has become so efficient and inexpensive, so too has our economic exposure should it be disrupted. Should a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) be detonated in a container, the reliable operation of the world's container terminals and ocean carrier fleets would be one of the casualties. The risk of disruption to world trade rises should the detonation take place in a U.S. port or within the U.S. intermodal transportation system.