Carriers and ports notched up their security programs Monday morning following the announcement that U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday.
"We generally heightened security overall," said William Ferguson, director for security at NYK Line (North America) in Jackson, N.J. "When there's news like this, we generally begin to look around more, and keep our Blackberries on."
The Department of Homeland Security so far has not issued a specific warning to freight carriers.
Two weeks ago Homeland Security put a new incident warning system into effect, abolishing the five-step color code system that had been in place since 2002. Under the National Terrorism Alert System, the department now sends out advisories in case of an "elevated threat" or "imminent threat" of a terrorist attack.
"We remain at a heightened state of vigilance," DHS said Monday morning. "Secretary Napolitano has been clear since announcing NTAS in January that we will only issue alerts when we have specific or credible information to convey to the American public. Our security posture, which always includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to protect the American people from an evolving threat picture both in the next days and beyond."
An official with the International Air Transport Association said the organization had not received any word from DHS. The Airforwarders Association hasn't either, but expects the Transportation Security Administration to issue a notice later Monday, said President Brandon Fried.
"TSA sees air cargo a significant threat," Fried said. "All the hard work, dedication and rules will definitely help keep the skies safe." He said that other countries as well are taking steps to protect their citizens.
Seaports are taking precautions, but the American Association of Port Authorities had no concrete information to share with members, said spokesman Aaron Ellis.
"Port security people are aware of the circumstances, but we're awaiting guidance from DHS as to what to do," Ellis said.
Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ, released the following statement:
"In light of the events that are unfolding, the Port Authority has directed its police to increase its presence at all Port Authority facilities, including the World Trade Center site, and to coordinate with local, state and federal law enforcement as required. This response is not based on a current threat, but out of an abundance of caution until we have the chance to learn more. In the meantime, all Port Authority facilities remain fully operational and at normal service levels."
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