Official TWIC compliance day was April 14 at the Port of Houston and several other Texas ports including Freeport, Galveston, Texas City and Port Arthur. Backlogs and last-minute applicants caused some hitches in the process, according to the Houston Chronicle. Managers at several area facilities including LyondellBasell Industries and Kinder Morgan had to arrange escorts for workers, suppliers and other vendors or accept enrollment receipts from those who have applied for but not yet received their TWICs.
However, the Port of Houston Authority’s Acting Executive Director Wade M. Battles said that Transportation Worker Identification Credential compliance was proceeding smoothly at the port and the Coast Guard conducted spot checks at two Houston sites and found no problems, the newspaper said.
Some 300,000 maritime-related workers in the Houston region are estimated to need TWIC cards. As of April 9 only 78,708 workers had enrolled and only 57,709 TWIC cards had been activated through the two Houston enrollment centers, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s TWIC dashboard, a summary of enrolled and activated cards. (Enrollees cannot use their cards until they have been activated.)
As of April 9, 1,751 cards had been activated at the nearby Port of Galveston, 10,248 at Texas City and 6,355 at Freeport, which is about an hour south and west of Houston.
April 15 was final TWIC compliance day nationwide. The Houston area, along with L.A./Long Beach, had one of the latest regional compliance dates. However, the U.S. Coast Guard, which is responsible for enforcing TWIC compliance, has granted a grace period until May 13, 2009, for people who have applied for TWICs but are still waiting to receive their cards. If individuals provide proof that they have applied and it can be verified that they have passed the required security threat assessment, they may be granted unescorted access during the grace period.