CHICAGO - Today, port workers, longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Chicago, 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 the Port of Chicago for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
Chicago is the tenth port to begin enrollment since the program began Oct. 16. By the end of the week twelve ports will be actively enrolling workers. Ultimately, established fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.
"TWIC will be a crucial part of our multi-layered risk based approach to maritime security," said Coast Guard Commander Richard Reinemann. "It will strengthen security and access control to the port and on thousands of other maritime facilities and vessels." Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago has worked closely with the maritime industry, including waterfront facility operators, licensed mariners and port representatives, over the past year in preparation for the TWIC enrollment roll-out.
Workers at the Port of Chicago 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.
About the Illinois International Port District: The Illinois International Port District is an independent municipal authority which administers designated waterfront facilities within the City of Chicago. Its properties are located along Lake Michigan, providing access to the world through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and on the inland river system, connecting it to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. It is the only Great Lakes Port capable of international shipping year round. Chicago is nationally renowned as the rail hub of the nation and is the second largest general cargo port on the inland Mississippi River System. It is also the largest general cargo port on the Great Lakes, and the Chicago Customs District is the seventh largest in the nation.