LaPLACE, LA. - Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of South Louisiana are now able 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.
"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 South Louisiana for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
More than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas are expected to apply for TWIC by the end of 2008. More than 75 ports have begun 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.
"A tremendous amount of planning 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," said Coast Guard Capt. Lincoln Stroh. "The Coast Guard is committed to working closely with TSA and our local industry partners during the enrollment and compliance phases of the TWIC to assure a successful transition into the program."
The TWIC enrollment center for the Port of South Louisiana is at the LaPlace Shopping Center, 1933 West Airline Highway, LaPlace, La., 70068. Workers 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 Port of South Louisiana, which stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River, is the largest tonnage port district in the Western Hemisphere. With exports of 51 million tons of cargo a year - more than any other port in North America - the port accounts for 15 percent of total U.S. exports.
Workers are now able to enroll for TWIC at several Louisiana ports, including South Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Port Fourchon.