MINNEAPOLIS – Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the ports of Minneapolis and St. Paul began enrolling last week 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.
"We opened enrollment early last week at both locations, which 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, the TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the ports of Minneapolis and St. Paul for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
Minneapolis and St. Paul are among the first 20 ports to begin enrollment in the nationwide program. Ultimately, TSA will establish fixed enrollment centers at 147 ports and will deploy mobile enrollment centers to dozens of other locations as needed.
"TWIC is a crucial part of our multi-layered risk-based approach to maritime security," said Coast Guard Lt. Carl Kepper. "It will strengthen security and improve access control to port facilities and vessels nationwide."
Workers at the ports of Minneapolis and St. Paul 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 10.4 million tons of commodities were shipped through the Twin Cities harbors in 2004. Outbound commodities include grain, oil seeds, fertilizers, scrap steel and scrap aluminum. Inbound commodities include fertilizers, salt gravel, cement, asphalt and coal.