A requirement that all shipping containers be scanned at foreign ports before being allowed to enter the United States within five years would be unrealistic, according to information from the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD).
NACD made the comment in response to the House and Senate's passage of an appropriations security bill that would require the scanning. "Without reliable and efficient technology, this requirement will result in major delays and supply chain disruptions as containers of products sit in ports waiting to be scanned," Christopher Jahn, NACD president, stated in a press release.
Jahn also said NACD is concerned about the hazardous materials transportation security measures in the bill regarding security plans, electronic tracking, and routing of security sensitive shipments, pointing out that those issues already have been addressed in existing regulations or through rulemakings in progress.
"For example, hazardous materials shippers are already required to comply with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) HM-232 security rule, which took effect in 2003," Jahn said. "In addition, both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DOT are in the process of finalizing new security rules on rail shipments of toxic-by-inhalation materials. Those involved with hazardous materials transportation are currently faced with multiple sets of security regulations and requirements from various agencies including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, and the Chemical Security Compliance Division of DHS.
"Duplication creates confusion and wastes valuable resources. For example, if there are multiple sets of requirements, employees must be trained on all of them and then try to make sense out of each, rather than being able to focus on one uniform set of effective standards."
At the same time, Jahn pointed out that NACD members are strongly committed to the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials. NACD said it was the first chemical trade association to approve new security measures, including specific transportation security measures, as part of its management program, the Responsible Distribution Process (RDP). In addition to complying with RDP requirements, many, if not most, NACD members are covered by DOT’s HM-232 security rule.