Look Before You Legislate Say Trade Groups

Expedited cargo movements and minimal inspections are some of the benefits accorded to trading partners who have met or exceeded high security standards. A group of nine trade associations has urged congressional leaders to preserve those and other tangible benefits in the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act of 2005.

The organizations contacted the bill’s principal sponsors, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA) and also Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN). Included in the joint letter was an admonition to conduct a gap analysis before developing new regulations or requirements. The federal government, with private-sector consultation and participation, should identify where and if gaps still exist. “Only after such a gap analysis can we determine where new rules, regulations or procedures are needed,” said the trade groups. They also pointed out that only a full gap analysis would provide the understanding of what is currently required of participants in the supply chain. That same thorough analysis will help identify which agencies have jurisdiction.

The group providing its comments said it endorsed the concept of a “greenlane” which rewards companies and members of the trade community for meeting and exceeding security criteria. The greenlane essentially allows expedited cargo movements and fewer inspections for supply chains where members of that trade link have complied with or exceeded security standards under current programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

One of the group’s cautions to lawmakers was that there is no “one size fits all” approach for supply chain security. No two supply chains are identical, necessitating customized approaches that are flexible enough to adapt to the needs of industry.

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