WHEN terrorists attacked New York City and Washington DC September 11, 2001, they set off a nationwide transportation security scramble that had wide repercussions across the tank truck industry.
“Security has become just as great an issue for us as safety,” said Doug Dickinson of Schneider National Bulk, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Today, when a trailer appears to be missing or tampered with, authorities are notified immediately. Those, and other precautions, are just the beginning, according to Cliff Harvison, National Tank Truck Carriers president. He predicts a federal identification card will be required for all transportation workers within three to four years.
Technology will enable the government to add other security precautions. The electronic industry is taking the initiative, rather than waiting for the government to decide on an approach, said Mark Baukman of Qualcomm, San Diego, California. Qualcomm and others are working with government to develop technological security aids. He called for a balanced approach, particularly because many trucking companies do not have high-tech capability.
Jeff St Pierre of Superior Carriers, Oak Brook, Illinois, noted that carriers are reexamining their driver hiring practices, knowing that drivers are doubly involved in the security that is now required because they handle product throughout the loading, transportation, and unloading process. He said that to satisfy shipper requirements, driver identification confirmation can be provided through a carrier Web site that has a secured password-entry process.
Carriers also are instituting plans that detail procedures for reaction to incidents that could be connect to a terrorist act. In such an event, fleets would shutdown their operations immediately and notify shippers, said Dickinson.
Although carriers are scrambling to establish security programs, they have to contend with many different shipper requirements. There is a general call for shippers to settle on standard security requirements that would be in effect across the industry.