MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Memphis 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 remainder of 2007 and next year.
"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 Memphis for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
Memphis is among the first 40 ports to begin enrollment in the nationwide program. Ultimately, fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.
"The United States Coast Guard's Sector Lower Mississippi River and the Port of Memphis' Area Maritime Security Committee have conducted TWIC outreach during monthly meetings and via Homeport," said Phil Boruszewski, Coast Guard port security specialist. "Homeport is a publicly-accessible Internet portal that supports diverse Coast Guard needs for critical information sharing and service delivery to the maritime industry and the public. The purpose of the outreach is to aid the transition to the new TWIC program requirements, which will enhance the area's maritime security efforts that are currently in place."
Workers at the Port of Memphis 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 3865 Viscount Ave., Suite 2, Memphis Tenn. 38118. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Port of Memphis is the fourth largest inland port in the U.S. The port covers the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the Mississippi River. Products such as petroleum, tar, asphalt, cement, iron, steel, coal, salt, fertilizers and other chemicals, rock, gravel, limestone and food products such as wheat, corn, rice, oats, soybeans, vegetable oils, animal feed, rubber, plastic and equipment are distributed in and pass through the Port of Memphis daily.
Approximately 1,458 towboats, 7,480 barges with dry cargo and 2,345 petroleum and chemical tank barges pass through the Port of Memphis every year with more than 16 million tons of cargo.