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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Port and Intermodal

Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement

New! Click here to read about the intermodal I-STEP program.

Click here to read how "TSA Takes Multi-Prong Approach to Maritime Security".

More than 80 percent of the world's trade by volume is conducted by ship and 99 percent of overseas trade by volume enters or leaves the United States by ship. A transportation system this vast can only be secured through the combined efforts of federal, state and local governments and private industry. The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead federal agency in securing the maritime transportation mode and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a significant role as well. TSA's Port and Intermodal Division is engaged in this unified national effort primarily by providing expertise in credentialing as well as passenger and vehicle screening techniques and procedures. Some of the major initiatives TSA's Port and Intermodal Division has participated in include:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

» Click here to read the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Implementation in the Maritime Sector final rule. (1Mb, pdf)

In accordance with the requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, TWIC will serve as a common credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels. To obtain a TWIC, an individual must first pass a security threat assessment to ensure they are not a security risk. For more information on the TWIC program click here.

Screening Initiatives for Ferry Operations and Cruise Line Terminals

TSA has tested a variety of technologies, practices and techniques for passenger screening systems in the maritime environment. Pilots and surge deployments have been conducted in San Francisco, Cape May, N.J. and Jamestown, Va. These tools include TSA-certified explosives-detection canine teams and explosives trace detection and advanced X-ray technologies. By testing and combining these assets in various combinations, TSA is creating a knowledge base to assist maritime operators with screening requirements as well as developing the capability to quickly deploy a suite of security assets in the event of a threat.


The Port Security Exercise Training Program (PortSTEP) brings together federal, state and local governments and private institutions to test responses to specific security events. The program fosters strong communication between public and private organizations and enhances their ability of these groups to recognize and respond to major security incidents. More than two dozen exercises were conducted in 2005 and 2006.

These programs, along with other initiatives led by the Coast Guard and CBP, achieve a safer, more secure, efficient and resilient maritime transportation system.

For more details on PortSTEP, click here.

Latest revision: 05 August 2014