Modeling VACIS Container Security Operations for Customs and Border Protection at NJ/NY Marine Terminals

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CAIT project no.: PSL RU9327

Fiscal Year: 2005/2006

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Tayfur Altiok

Sponsor(s): CBP-DHS


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is charged with the responsibility of securing incoming and outgoing cargo to/from the U.S., among other things. In particular, CBP performs a number of security procedures on incoming and outgoing container cargo as part of the Container Security Initiative (CSI). This is a substantial operation in view of the fact that container traffic into the U.S. amounts to some 25,000 containers per day. As such, CBP operations are both security-critical and costly, and they further engender major economic consequences on the national economy as well as the global supply chain.

The New Jersey office of CBP has jurisdiction over terminals and port facilities in the Newark/Elizabeth and NYC area. This jurisdiction covers 5 marine terminals of which the APM terminal is the focal point of this proposed study. This terminal sprawls over 266 acres, and has 11 cranes, 4500+ feet of wharf, including several deep water berths, a near-dock rail yard and a near-dock Customs Exam Site. It handles thousands of containers on a daily basis.

Based on manifest data provided by shippers under the 24-hour rule, CBP identifies those containers to be examined prior to vessel arrival. Subsequently, upon vessel arrival, CBP invokes the 48-hour rule which requires the terminal to make cargo available for security inspection by CBP personnel. These security inspections include imaging anomaly analysis (VACIS), radiation isotope identification (RIID), radiation monitoring (RPM), as well as manual examination.