Sail Only If Scanned legislation would disrupt the economy, says industry group

The Coalition for Secure Ports, made up of private sector stakeholders, is calling on members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to reject maritime and supply chain security proposals that would damage the U.S. economy and disrupt existing security strategies. The Sail Only If Scanned (SOS) legislative proposals currently being circulated on Capitol Hill aim to suspend trade with any nation whose ports do not undertake 100% inspection of containers before vessel loading.

“The Sail Only If Scanned proposals risk severely disrupting U.S. commerce and creating disputes with America’s trading partners while failing to address their far-reaching implications for our maritime security strategy,” says Christopher Koch, president of the World Shipping Council, a member of the Coalition for Secure Ports.

“Congress has held no hearings on these proposals, which would have a major impact on trade and security strategy,” continues Koch. “The legislation fails to address fundamental security strategy questions raised by the proposals, such as privatizing the performance of container screening in foreign ports, and also fails to address the fact that present technology does not allow for 100% container inspection without bringing commerce to a halt. This is no way to legislate on an important issue.”

According to Koch, “These proposals are simply unworkable, and enacting them would set off a chain reaction that could potentially cripple our international maritime

trading system. Maritime and port security is simply too important for Congress to approve proposals that would disrupt the economy and U.S. international relations and overwhelm U.S. Customs without even having hearings on the proposals.”

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