Durban joins ranks of CSI-operational ports

Durban joins ranks of CSI-operational ports

WASHINGTON -- Durban, South Africa, next week will become the 17th port in the world to be operational under the Container Security Initiative (CSI), Robert C. Bonner, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said Tuesday.

That means Durban will have screening equipment in place to scan containers before they are loaded aboard a U.S.-bound ship.

The port of Durban ranked 50th on The Journal of Commerce's list of Top 50 container ports, with 1.29 million TEUs shipped in 2002. It will be the first African port to be operational in CSI, and ships the largest volume of containers to the U.S. that originate in Africa south of the equator.

Durban is the first of the "phase 2" CSI ports to become active. In the second phase, Customs is concentrating on ports that are strategically located or handle high-risk cargo. Phase 1 focused on the ports in Europe and Asia that shipped the largest volume of containers to the U.S.

All told, 18 countries have signed bilateral agreements with the U.S. to permit U.S. Customs officers to help local administrations security-screen cargo bound for the U.S. A Customs spokesman said that not all of the original 19 ports that joined CSI have become operational.