Issues of security

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Department of Homeland Security approved
On Nov. 25, President Bush signed legislation establishing the Department of Homeland Security. The new law transfers numerous agencies and functions to Homeland Security from other cabinet departments. Among the transfers of most concern to the trucking industry are the Transportation Security Administration, the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2003.

Feds to test radiation detector
Federal officials will evaluate a radiation detection system being installed at Knoxville, Tenn.’s I-40 eastbound weigh station for possible use on Interstates. The system should be in place by mid-December and will be studied through July, said Frank Juan, spokesman with the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge facility. “It’s the first of its kind to be tested on an Interstate highway,” Juan said.

The technology detects slight levels of gamma radiation in loads as trucks pass between yellow steel girders. The additional clearance is not expected to add wait time, Juan said. The system has been produced commercially for at least a decade to detect radiation in metal scrap yards.

Con-Way plans security surcharge
Con-Way Transportation Services next month will begin charging a Homeland Security Surcharge on northbound and southbound shipments crossing the U.S.-Canada border. The carrier will implement an $8 per shipment surcharge Jan. 2. The company said the surcharge stems from the increased cost of government-mandated freight security changes following the Sept. 11 attacks. These changes, implemented by U.S. and Canadian customs authorities, affect cross-border documents and security inspections and lengthen the time it takes for border crossing and for preparing shipments for customs clearance.

Con-Way is involved in the federal Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. C-TPAT is an initiative between business and government to protect global commerce from terrorism. Con-Way has invested in several security systems at its larger facilities that were recommended in C-TPAT meetings, says Douglas Stotlar, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Con-Way.