June 22, 2004 at 10:29 PM EST - Updated June 28 at 7:41 AM
One of the biggest problems ports face is actually screening containers. Now, all suspicious containers are now being checked by U.S. officials overseas before they come anywhere near the country.
For the Georgia Ports Authority and other ports around the United States, this is great news for what Port officials say is a new era in security. "We live in a new era, you know the war on terrorism continues, we're fighting that war along with our partners in the state and federal government and it's a new reality we have to face," said Robert Morris, a spokesman for the Georgia Ports Authority located in West Chatham County.
The director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, announced that all ports will meet new national standards for security, "Shipping is a global industry. Terrorism is a global problem. Our collective security requires a global solution."
Which means a good portion of all the containers coming into our ports will be screened before they ever reach the Savannah River. "The department of Homeland Security has made us quite confident that we are right now screening 100% of suspicious containers that move in and out of the port," said Morris.
In addition, any containers marked as high risk will now be subjected to a new type of detector that identifies any sort of nuclear material. While the Georgia Ports has yet to acquire those types of radiation detectors, officials say they're ahead of game when it comes to meeting security guidelines. "The July 1st deadline is exciting for us because we feel like we're already ahead of the curve."
Port officials say they expect to get these new radiation detection machines with in the next couple of months.