Safe and secure seaports are fundamental to protecting our borders and moving goods. Maintaining federal support and control of seaport security is critical to ensuring national security. Protecting critical transportation assets like seaports from cyber threats is vital. AAPA works closely with Congress and federal partners to ensure that funding, procedures and policy are in place to keep our nation’s ports and adjoining communities safe and secure.
The Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) is critical to U.S. ports who partner with the Department of Homeland Security to harden security and protect our homeland.
AAPA continues to urge Congress to increase the authorization and appropriation levels. AAPA is concerned that cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) non-disaster grant program funding, including the PSGP, will threaten and possibly weaken our nation’s security.
AAPA asserts that all ports should be eligible for these grants, which aid in protecting this country from terrorist and other criminal attacks. Grant funding for port security should be a separate line item controlled at the federal level.
More resources are needed to address U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing shortages at our nation’s seaports. For America’s international gateways to function more efficiently, effectively and safely, CBP must be adequately funded and staffed. Our nation’s ports partner with CBP to secure our supply chain and provide vital support in moving freight safely through our ports and on to the national freight network.
Each year, roughly $1.4 billion tons of foreign trade cargo, including more than 11 million maritime containers, arrive at our seaports. Additionally, over 11 million international passengers begin their cruises via U.S. seaports. CBP is on the front line when cargo and passengers enter our country meeting ships at all ports of entry: to check the manifests, screen incoming cargo, operate non-intrusive inspection (NII) equipment (including radiation portal monitors), provide specialists to examine imported fruits, vegetables and flowers for potentially harmful diseases, and execute other missions at our busy gateways including screening all foreign visitors and returning American citizens and passenger ships using U.S. seaports.