The LBJ School at the University of Texas recently published a report entitled “Port and Supply-Chain Initiatives in the United States and Abroad,” a compendium and analysis of existing activities in this area on a global basis. The report received media attention recently in this DC Velocity article.
The first half of the report looks at broad supply chain and port security topics, such as the ISPS code, the MTSA, C-TPAT, and the World Customs Organization SAFE Framework. These chapters feature the results of interviews with key stakeholders, which highlight the ongoing challenges associated with implementing these rules and programs. For example, the report notes how the lack of uniformity and clear standards in the implementation of the ISPS code has led to a situation where investments have low efficiencies of scope and are therefore difficult to justify.
The second half of the report consists of case studies of security initiatives at ports in Santos, Brazil; Marseille, France; Hong Kong; Jawaharlal Nehru, India; Veraruz, Mexico; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and Durban, South Africa. These case studies are the most interesting part of the report, describing the challenges that these seven very different ports have faced in implementing the ISPS code and (in some cases) the Container Security Initiative into their operations. The case studies paint a picture of a maritime trade system that, while vastly more attentive to security matters today, is still struggling to make security a normal and routinized part of its operations. The descriptions of the developing country ports are particularly worth reading, as a way to better understand the practical challenges and limitations of implementing high-tech security tools in environments that rely upon informal and/or non-automated standard operating procedures.
On a personal note, I was also glad to see the white paper I co-authored for IBM on Global Movement Management last year summarized on page 66 of the report.
Overall, a very good report and a useful addition to the public body of knowledge about port and supply chain security.