Greece joins Container Security Initiative

Greece joins Container Security Initiative

Greece has become the 18th country to join the Container Security Initiative, the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection officials announced.

Deputy Secretary James M. Loy, Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and Vassilios Manolopoulos, general director of the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Economy and Finance signed a declaration of principles on Friday during the World Customs Organization annual conference.

Under the program, Customs inspectors will be stationed at the Port of Piraeus to help Greek customs officials screen U.S.-bound containers to prevent terrorist attack. Officials said that they intend to deploy inspectors at Piraeus in July, in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

When Customs launched CSI in 2002, it concentrated on the "top 20" world container ports that exported to the U.S. There are now Customs inspectors on station at 19 ports.

Pireaus ranked 47th on The Journal of Commerce's list of Top 50 Container Ports for 2002, with 1.39 million TEUs. It joins Durban, South Africa, and Colombo, Sri Lanka in the second phase of CSI expansion.

Piraeus is the first European port to join the program since the U.S. and European Commission signed an agreement last April to expand container security.