Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TSA Chief Reviews TWIC Reader System at Long Beach Port

John Pistole, Administrator of the US Transportation Security Administration, visited the Port of Long Beach last week to view the latest iteration of TWIC card readers now being tested at several port terminals.

The Transportation Worker Identification Card, or TWIC, is a national identification system that requires transportation workers, including those in the maritime industry, to pass background checks before accessing port facilities. All workers requiring regular access to port facilities, such as dockers or drayage truck drivers, are required to have them. According to the TSA's latest statistics, just over 1.6 million TWIC cards have been issued since 2006 with about 150,000 applications currently pending.

At facilities where readers are not installed, TWIC cards are visually checked. In the case of a question being raised, information from the card can be input electronically and checked for validity online with the TSA. The readers would accomplish the same task, but each card would be checked against TSA records each time the card is swiped.

Pistole, along with other federal officials, visited the port's Pier A facility, one of five Long Beach terminals with the under-development readers installed. Long Beach is one of the few port complexes in the U.S. selected to participate in the long-term pilot project to develop the readers. The TSA first put out a call for the development of the readers in May, 2008, and several versions have been developed under the pilot program.

During a meeting at the Port's Command and Control Center hosted by Port of Long Beach Director of Security Cosmo Perrone, Pistole commended the partnership and cooperation he witnessed during his visit and reminded all present "we are all in this together."