Q&A with TSA on TWIC program

Port security program creates flash pass, but aspires to do much more

Pilot participants will be located at four port authorities and three vessel operators, including the Port Authorities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York and New Jersey, Brownsville, Magnolia Marine in Mississippi, Watermark Cruises in Annapolis, and the Staten Island Ferry. Brownsville has already installed and begun testing readers. The pilot will continue until we have enough data to provide to Coast Guard for them to issue a Final Reader Regulation to industry.

Where does the program stand on readers? When can facilities expect an approved readers list or is too early to determine?

TWICs are designed to be read by a card reader. TWIC card readers have gone through initial lab testing and approved equipment will be tested further in severe port environments (extreme heat, cold, wind, salt water, etc). Readers are not mandatory yet because TSA listened and responded to industry concerns about cost and the need to test readers at port facilities and on vessels to ensure durability and functionality. We have worked closely with industry every step of the way to maximize security and minimize the effect on commerce At this time, some ports have already installed new readers and more will be soon. The pilot program will test readers further in severe port environments (extreme heat, cold, wind, salt water, etc). The data we collect from the pilot will provide valuable information concerning the viability and durability of the card readers.

Editor's note: Look for more soon on the TWIC topic as we speak to a leading vendor about the challenges on the technical side of cards.