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Stay vigilant: Advice for chemical industry

THE CHEMICAL industry can't afford to let down on security efforts and should continue to be vigilant, speakers said at the Chemical Week Transportation and Distribution Conference January 13-14 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“As in safety, there is no such thing as total security,” said Paul Gooch of Dow Chemical Co GmbH.

Gooch, Ronald Keegan of Engelhard Corp, Yone Dewberry of BDP International, and Ryan Paquet of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were among those emphasizing the need for increased security for shippers and motor carriers.

Gooch pointed out that stepped-up aviation security may be driving terrorists to look around for other means of attack, such as maritime and trucking facilities. At the same time, he said that the chemical industry has to balance between adequate security measures and maintaining a competitive edge.

The speakers agreed that increased security at a company not only protects against terrorist threats, but benefits companies by improving overall employee safety and reducing product theft and tampering.

Keegan touched on the importance of company personnel being alert against terrorist threats. He suggested ways to bolster security such as through increased personnel training and updated training manuals, updated site security measures, new policy and procedural documents, follow-up security audits, and thorough employee background assessments.

Dewberry reminded shippers to review their entire supply chain, including their firms' transportation partners, and to examine potential risk.

Turning to the worst-case scenario, he added that considerations should include an evaluation of how long it would take to recover from a serious incident, how much revenue would be lost as a result, and the time involved for suppliers to replace inventory that would be lost. Presenting a view from the federal perspective, Paquet pointed out that FMCSA has been conducting a national hazmat safety and security operational test. The agency is looking at transport risk assessment; security technologies for safeguarding cargo, assets, and personnel; and the development of a research review of technologies, service providers, and hazmat stakeholders.

Among those taking part in the FMCSA project are the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office; Research and Special Programs Administration; Federal Highway Administration; the Department of Transportation Office of Intermodalism; Battelle Memorial Institute; American Transportation Research Institute; Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance; QUALCOMM Incorporated; Total Security Services International; Savi Technology; and Biometric Solutions Group.

The test considerations include ways to increase hazmat transportation security by use of tracking and communication technologies, driver authentication technologies, electronic shipping documentation, onboard computers, and electronic seals.

FMCSA will eventually have the data available for public review.

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