Murray’s five-year effort delivers new system to protect ports, secure cargo, and safeguard American lives and the US economy

For Washington State, passage means security grants for Washington’s ports, new regional coordination center, new radiation detection equipment and Customs personnel, and a new system to keep Washington’s trade-dependent economy moving.

On Sept. 15 the US Senate passed landmark cargo security legislation authored by US Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) that will dramatically improve the security of America’s ports and cargo container system. Murray ‘s bill passed by a vote of 98-0. Senator Murray has spearheaded the effort to protect America ‘s ports since the terrorist attacks of September 11th. She spent the past week on the Senate floor managing debate on her bill.

“Today we have taken a giant step to improve the safety of ports in Washington and across the country,” said Senator Murray. “By raising security standards and investing in cargo security, we will close a dangerous security gap and keep our country safe.”

The bipartisan bill, which Murray introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

  • raises security standards for all cargo entering the US,
  • creates a GreenLane to track and monitor cargo,
  • creates a system to resume trade after an incident, and
  • funds port security grants.

For Washington state, the bill will provide new security grants for Washington’s ports, a new regional coordination center, new radiation detection equipment at the Port of Tacoma, new Customs personnel for Seattle/Tacoma, and a new system to keep Washington’s trade-dependent economy moving.

“Because our state relies so heavily on the trade that flows through our ports, we are uniquely susceptible to a devastating and economically crippling attack,” said Murray. “The legislation passed today effectively pushes out our security borders, allowing us to detect tampered cargo long before it enters our ports. This bill also takes into consideration our state’s unique trade needs by providing security measures that won’t impede the flow of commerce.”

Today’s vote marks the culmination of a five-year effort by Senator Murray to implement cargo security measures at our nation’s ports. Beginning after the attacks of September 11th with Senator Murray’s Operation Safe Commerce program to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security, Murray had been steadfast in her dedication to port security. The legislation passed today is a result of Murray ‘s collaboration with Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Susan Collins (D-ME). Senator Murray approached Senator Collins over a year ago to work on a bill to protect America ‘s ports. Together, they introduced the GreenLane Maritime Security Act.

Specifically, Murray’s legislation will:

  • Protect Americans by making our cargo and seaports more secure - mitigating a dangerous vulnerability.
  • Help prevent a lengthy shutdown of America ‘s seaports in the event of an incident ’ protecting America’s economy from severe disruption.
  • Provide layered security at every step of the supply chain while keeping it efficient.
  • Push the borders out so we can focus our limited resources on suspect cargo.

The bill improves security at America’s ports by establishing:

  • The GreenLane, comprised of supply chain participants who voluntarily meet the highest level of security, allows our security services to better identify and respond to potential threats and provides real incentives to importers to enhance their supply chain security measures.
  • Minimum security standards for all cargo containers entering the US and requirements that strengthen current cargo security programs.
  • The Office of Cargo Security Policy to ensure accountability and coordination of cargo security policies, procedures & regulations at the Department of Homeland Security and with other agencies.
  • Joint Operations Centers to e