SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY – Examinations of High- Risk Cargo at Foreign Seaports Have Increased, but Improved Data Collection and Performance Measures Are Needed, GAO, January 2008 (CORE1010)

Summary: This report reviews the progress that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made with the Container Security Initiative (CSI) – a program for screening US-bound high-risk shipping containers in foreign ports with X-ray and radiation detection solutions – since the latest 2005 GAO review. The report discusses how the CBP’s CSI efforts have (1) contributed to the long-term, strategic planning on the US supply chain security, (2) strengthened CSI activities worldwide and (3) established means to evaluate performance of the CSI activities. The report recommends CBP to develop its data collection practices that are related to the CSI team performance and the host government’s inspections of the US-bound containers. This report provides relevant information for CORE demonstrations that deal with US-bound maritime logistics and commerce. Also the risk cluster might benefit from the descriptions of the US risk-based supply chain security scheme – Automated Targeting System (AST), 24-hour rule and the importer security filing 10+2 – that the report elaborates in detail. The report is available at

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Full review: This GAO report elaborates the status and challenges of the US Container Security Initiative, but it also provides a comprehensive outlook on the US maritime supply chain security. This information is likely to be relevant for the CORE’s demonstrations (WP9 and WP14) that deal with US-bound container traffic. The report is a good reference document for those CORE work packages that seek to describe the state-of-the-art of the global supply chain and that are producing relevant training material on supply chain security. The CORE’s risk and IT clusters benefit from the information the report offers on risk-based security solutions that use advance cargo information to calculate risk scores for US-bound shipments by the aid of automatic risk assessment algorithms.


  • Preventing Nuclear Smuggling: DOE Has Made Limited Progress in Installing Radiation Detection Equipment at Highest Priority Foreign Seaports. GAO-05-375. Washington, D.C.: March 31, 2005.
  • Homeland Security: Process for Reporting Lessons Learned from Seaport Exercises Needs Further Attention. GAO-05-170. Washington, D.C.: January 14, 2005.
  • Port Security: Better Planning Needed to Develop and Operate Maritime Worker Identification Card Program. GAO-05-106. Washington, D.C.: December 10, 2004.
  • Maritime Security: Substantial Work Remains to Translate New Planning Requirements into Effective Port Security. GAO-04-838. Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2004.
  • Homeland Security: Summary of Challenges Faced in Targeting Oceangoing Cargo Containers for Inspection. GAO-04-557T. Washington, D.C.: March 31, 2004.
  • Container Security: Expansion of Key Customs Programs Will Require Greater Attention to Critical Success Factors. GAO-03-770. Washington, D.C.: July 25, 2003.

Additional keywords: Container Security Initiative (CSI), counter-terrorism, homeland security, maritime supply chain security



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