Washington, D.C. — For the first time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Container Security Initiative (CSI), an innovative program that works cooperatively with foreign governments to target and pre-screen maritime containerized cargo before it heads to the United States, is expanding to Central America. CBP Acting Commissioner Deborah J. Spero and the Republic of Honduras today announced the Port of Cortes as the 44th operational CSI port allowing cargo to be screened for terrorist and terrorist weapons.
A joint declaration of principles was signed on December 15, 2005 and, in addition to bringing the CSI program to Honduras, also brings the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) MegaPorts Initiative. The Department of Energy will install large-scale and sophisticated radiological detection equipment toentify nuclear material as part of this initiative.
“The primary purpose of the Container Security Initiative is to protect the American public by securing the global trading system,” said Acting Commissioner Spero. “By bringing CSI to the Port of Cortes, the Republic of Honduras is helping to address the threat to global trade making it more secure against terrorist exploitation. CBP will continue to expand the CSI security blanket to additional foreign ports.”
"Through CSI, the Port of Cortes now has the chance to ship more containers to the United States which will directly benefit the Republic of Honduras because foreign investors will see the country as an easy and secure way to send their merchandise to the United States,” said Charles A. Ford, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Honduras. “This will open more job and commerce opportunities, especially once the Central America Free Trade Act (CAFTA) enters into effect.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will deploy a multidisciplinary team of officers to be stationed at the Port of Cortes to target maritime containers destined for the United States. Honduran Customs officials, working with CBP officers, will be responsible for screening any containersentified as a potential terrorist risk.
With the Port of Cortes, there are now 44 operational CSI ports in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North, South, and Central America. Approximately 75 percent of cargo containers headed to the U.S. originate in or are transshipped from CSI ports. CBP’s goal is to have 50 operational CSI ports by the end of 2006. At that time, 82 percent of all cargo imported into the United States will be subjected to pre-screening.
The Container Security Initiative will continue to expand to strategic locations around the world. The World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union (EU), and the G8 support CSI expansion and have adopted resolutions implementing CSI security measures introduced at ports throughout the world. Today, a total of 27 customs administrations have committed to join CSI and are in various stages of implementation.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws. Contacts For This Press Release CBP HeadquartersOffice of Public Affairs1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.Room 3.4AWashington, D.C. 20229 Phone: (202) 344-1770or (800) 826-1471Fax: (202) 344-1393