Integrating the newly mandated Transportation Workers Identify Credential into the existing APM Terminals security protocol as the single and primary means of electronic access, security is enhanced in an efficient and cost-effective manner that can be used as a prototype for all US ports.

Ron Babski, the General Manager of Safety, Security and the Environment at the new APM Terminals Virginia facility in Portsmouth saw a need for improving the efficiency of the recently mandated US Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC) program, and found an innovative way to have this enhanced security mandate implemented in a cost-effective format which can be used as a model for the industry not just for American facilities, but world-wide as well.

Mr. Babski was confronted with the challenge of adhering to the TWIC security requirements while also maintaining highly efficient terminal gate and personnel access systems at the APM Terminals Virginia facility in Portsmouth, the largest privately owned container terminal in the United States. In response to concerns about national security and the potential threats posed by cargo movements through American seaports, the US Congress passed into law the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, which included the requirement for Transportation Security Cards to be issued by the US Coast Guard for personnel with unescorted access to a terminal or vessel at any US port.

The new credential regulations, scheduled to go into effect on April 15th, 2009, require authorized personnel to show their TWIC cards to security personnel stationed at entrances and throughout a port facility. Applicants for TWIC certification must undergo a background check and qualify on other security-based criteria for approval. Once the TWIC card is approved, it must be available for facility entry and for random checks on vessels and terminals by Coast Guard and other security personnel.

In addition to the approximately 1,000 APM Terminals employees, longshoremen, vendors and other authorized personnel entering the APM Terminals Virginia facility on a regular basis, over 3,000 truck drivers making as many as 7,000 container pick-ups or deliveries each week had to be taken into account. Annual throughput at the terminal is approximately 1 million containerized twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs).

It was while giving a visiting Coast Guard official a tour of the facility, which was formally opened one year ago, that Babski was struck by the idea that the TWIC credential could be integrated into the existing APM Terminals security protocol as the single and primary means of electronic access.  By encoding the current readers at the facility to recognize TWIC, this card could then be used as what Babski formally describes as “an automated primary means of access” to the terminal, saving both time and money for all involved.

The key was the ability under the existing TWIC regulations to tie in the new DHS mandated measures into an existing security system rather than duplicating efforts with a second piece of identification for personnel to carry and display if asked. This technology could easily be put into place at other terminals both nationally and abroad as security issues grow along with projected global container throughput of 500 million TEUs in 2008 to one billion TEUs by 2020.

Working closely with the provider of the APM Terminals’ electronic security readers, Mr. Babski was able to have the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) TWIC badge format added into the APM Terminals security system.  After lengthy research and testing, the TWIC embedded permanent badges are now functioning as what Babski describes as a useful prototype for other terminals and ports, in the US and perhaps internationally as well, with very positive reactions from current users, setting a new standard for the container industry.

“By using this single principle ID that conforms to terminal and Federal security requirements”, Babski observed, “we are very proud of this integration