US Container Security Initiatives Could Help Take Counterfeit Goods Out of the "Fast Lane"
The threat of terrorists concealing weapons of mass destruction in shipping containers destined for the United States where they detonate in the heartland is no longer dismissed as the plot of a Tom Clancy thriller. US Customs and the Office of Homeland Security are giving this formerly implausible scenario serious attention.
Terrorists aim not only to kill people but also to cripple free trade and the world's leading economies. By raising fears about using shipping containers to transport weapons of mass destruction, terrorists could easily meet that objective. As a means for delivery, container shipping offers the same advantages to terrorists as it does to legitimate businesses: Efficient and reliable sea-to-land transportability. ["When Trade and Security Clash," The Economist 59-62 (Apr. 6, 2002).]
Customs estimates that over 16 million containers per year enter the United States by ship, truck, and rail. [US Customs Factsheet, U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative to Safeguard U.S., Global Economy, February 2002 (hereinafter US …