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2005 AAPA Information Technology Award Winners

The Port of Houston Authority is the winner of the fourth annual AAPA Information Technology Awards competition, organized by the association’s Information Technology Committee. These awards were developed to recognize and highlight industry best practices in the area of technology within the administration and operations of port authorities. Four judges selected one winner in the Port Operations & Management Systems category.

OFAC Reporting: “The Check’s NOT in the Mail”

In order to comply with the regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U. S. Department of the Treasury, the Port Authority examines all vendors to determine if any are included on the SDN (Specially Designated National) list or are located in sanctioned countries. The Port Authority is subject to OFAC jurisdiction, and as such, must verify that it doesn’t compensate a vendor that is on the SDN lists.

OFAC’s SDN file currently includes in excess of 2,700 entries, with an additional 2,300 aliases. This comparison would be a time-consuming and tedious task if performed manually. Therefore, the examination procedure must be automated, vendors that are SDNs must be identified and any funds payable to sanctioned vendors must be identified and frozen.

The POHA process stores the OFAC data in a port created database. This data includes the SDN file and the aliases, as well as manually entered targeted countries from OFAC’s web site. After pulling the list with a reporting tool, a formatted file is then sent to a port created program written in the COBOL programming language which identifies “suspect vendors” by comparing the SDN, alias name and sanctioned countries list to the POHA vendor list. The result is a printed report of the matches.

This system ensures port authority remains fully OFAC compliant. The Compliance Officer repeats these reporting procedures biweekly and as updates are made to OFAC’s SDN lists to verify that the Port of Houston Authority remains in compliance.