Report to Congress on Integrated Scanning System Pilots (Security and Accountability for Every Port (SAFE) Act of 2006, Section 231), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CORE1039)

Summary: The document reports the pilot of an integrated scanning system at three foreign ports during the six month pilot period beginning in October of 2007, which were directed by the US Congress to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), as necessary, and the private sector and host governments when possible. Full review report, and the original source file, can be found in CORE e-library with the code CORE1039. Source file at:

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The pilots were to specifically designate 3 foreign seaports through which containers pass or are transshipped to the United States for the establishment of pilot integrated scanning systems that couple non-intrusive imaging equipment and radiation detection equipment. The full-scale implementation shall:

  • Scan all containers destined for the United States that are loaded in such ports;
  • Electronically transmit the images and information to appropriate United States Government personnel in the country in which the port is located or in the United States for evaluation and analysis;
  • Resolve every radiation alarm according to established Department procedures;
  • Utilize the information collected to enhance the Automated Targeting System or other relevant programs;
  • Store the information for later retrieval and analysis; and
  • May provide an automated notification of questionable or high-risk cargo as a trigger for further inspection by appropriately trained personnel.

The report includes following evaluation and analytics:

  • An evaluation of the lessons derived from the pilot system implemented under this subsection;
  • An analysis of the efficacy of the Automated Targeting System or other relevant programs in utilizing the images captured to examine high-risk containers;
  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the integrated scanning system in detecting shielded and unshielded nuclear and radiological material;
  • An evaluation of software and other technologies that are capable of automatically identifying potential anomalies in scanned containers; and
  • An analysis of the need and feasibility of expanding the integrated scanning system to other container security initiative ports.

The first three Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) ports chosen were: Puerto Cortes, Honduras; Port Qasim, Pakistan; and Southampton, United Kingdom; with a combined total of U.S.-bound container volume from October 12, 2007 to February 12, 2008 of 51,937 containers. The specific purpose of this report is to provide feedback on the deployment of integrated scanning equipment to the initial. Further, this report details the United States Government’s efforts under SFI in four additional locations (Hong Kong, Oman, South Korea, and Singapore). While integrated scanning equipment may not yet be deployed, or is not yet fully operational in each of these additional ports, this report outlines some of the lessons derived throughout the negotiation processes, construction efforts, and initial testing periods.

Main findings are as follows:

  1. Maritime containers is possible on a limited scale in low volume ports processing primarily gate traffic, but that this process will be difficult to achieve with transshipped containers delivered to the port facility from the waterside.
  2. Many foreign government partners express concerns that this policy will negatively impact container processing, increase operating costs, infringe on state sovereignty, and unnecessarily burden security organizations.
  3. Transshipped containers pose a logistical difficulty because, unlike traffic passing through the terminal gates, these containers do not pass through the SFI scanning systems.
  4. The initial SFI pilots have demonstrated that technical and operation solutions are not yet available to capture transshipped cargo efficiently. New equipment and software must be developed to address the considerable challenge of scanning containers that often transit through ports quickly and without necessarily being placed on trucks or passing through port gates.
  5. Because of shorter dwell times for containers, space constraints, lack of immediate availability of shipping data, and the difficulty of identifying chokepoints within busy container terminals, capturing transshipped cargo without seriously impacting port operations remains a significant challenge. Solutions to this challenge will depend upon the specific infrastructure conditions at any given port, technology interface issues, and the development of operational procedures in concert with host nation and port officials.
  6. Singapore projections indicate that SFI will have a detrimental effect on the processing times in the port.
  7. SFI, in the initial three ports, has demonstrated the operational feasibility of integrating various scanning technologies and transmitting data in near-real time for review and analysis.
  8. It has also demonstrated that scanning data associated with maritime containers can be successfully integrated by electronically linking specific container identification data to that container’s scanning data.
  9. Containers arriving in the United States accompanied by SFI data do not experience the same rate of examination at U.S. ports as containers that originate from non-SFI locations. As well, the additional data elements gathered at the foreign port assist CBP officers in more quickly and efficiently mitigating risk and adjudicating radiation alarms occurring at a domestic seaport.

Overall relevance to CORE: The major relevance of the document is evidently on security. Specifically in three important points:

  • Methodology and operational outcomes: This point is related to the way SAFE Port Act is linked to other initiatives such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI), and the use of NII technology to scan high-risk shipments. The inclusion of these provisions reflects the Act’s support for the current layered, risk-based approach to maritime and cargo security. Also, the importance of this relations is evident, since these programs form the backbone of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) risk management-based, layered enforcement strategy. In the operational sense, findings such as volume related difficulties (finding 1 and 3), operational constraints (finding 5), operational tradeoffs (finding 6) have direct impact on CORE´s planning and activities.
  • Reactions, collaboration and relations with partners: CORE has to deal with similar (if not equal) issues in partnerships. This is a very important point since partnerships for the pilots could help or condemn CORE demonstration efforts, (finding 2)
  • Technical outcomes: The results in the technical aspects are a very strong base for CORE execution, and a very good reference of what to expect. Findings 4, 7, 8 and 9 depict technical outcomes that could be used to steer CORE execution in order to improve related results in the demonstrators.

CORE Impact anticipation:

  • To CORE: This report represents a solid base of reference for comparability, improvements and measuring purposes.
  • From CORE: An opportunity to confirm, conditioned, or reject some of the conclusions the report offers. In the case of confirmation, both efforts could be bundled together to convince future actors of the benefits of this type of initiatives.

Full citation:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, September 2008

Report to Congress on Integrated Scanning System Pilots

(Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006, Section 231)

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Available to General Pubic at:

Accessed: 10/12/2014


Informe al Congreso sobre los programas pilotos del sistema de escaneo integrado (Seguridad y Responsabilidad de Cada Puerto (SAFE, por sus siglas en inglés) ley del 2006, Sección 231), de la Oficina de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza de EE.UU. (CORE1039)

Resumen: El documento reporta el plan piloto de un sistema de escaneo integrado en tres puertos extranjeros durante el período piloto de seis meses a partir de octubre de 2007, que fueron dirigidos por el Congreso de Estados Unidos ante la Secretaría del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés), en coordinación con el Secretario del Departamento de Energía (DOE, por sus siglas en inglés), según sea necesario, y el sector privado y los gobiernos anfitriones cuando sea posible. El documento completo, y la fuente original, se pueden encontrar en la biblioteca electrónica de CORE con el código CORE1039. Fuente:
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