JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Jacksonville today will begin to enroll in the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The program's goal is to ensure that any individual who has unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels has received a thorough background check and is not a security threat. Nationwide, more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply for TWIC during the rest of 2007 and 2008.
"The start of enrollment is one more step in our effort to prevent persons who are a threat from gaining access to secure areas of port facilities," said Maurine Fanguy, TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at Port of Jacksonville for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
More than 40 ports have begun enrollment nationwide and ultimately 147 ports will have fixed enrollment stations along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.
"TWIC will be the transportation workers' key for rapid and reliable access to port facilities in Jacksonville," said Coast Guard Captain of The Port, Paul Thomas, who is responsible for enforcing TWIC requirements. "We encourage workers to enroll early to ensure their ability to access the port after the enforcement date is set."
A tremendous amount of planning and work has been done collectively by TSA, the Coast Guard, port owners/operators, employee groups and other stakeholders in preparation for this critical phase of the TWIC program to assure a successful and smooth transition.
Workers at the Port of Jacksonville are able to pre-enroll for TWIC online at the Coast Guard's Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil. Pre-enrolling speeds up the process by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person. This eliminates waiting at enrollment centers and reduces the time it takes to enroll each individual.
The enrollment center is located at 955 Talleyrand Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32206. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is an international trade seaport with multiple cargo terminals capable of handling container, automobile, bulk, break-bulk and refrigerated cargoes, as well as cruise passenger ships hosting more than 250,000 passengers a year and local ferry service. Overall, the Port of Jacksonville handles more than 18 million tons of cargo each year, including more than 600,000 automobiles and 760,000 containers.