Malaysia to check U.S.-bound containers

Malaysia to check U.S.-bound containers

Malaysia will implement U.S. Customs' Container Security Initiative at Port Kelang on March 18, more than a year after it signed off on the anti-terror program.

The box inspections will also be extended to the fast-growing Port of Tanjung Pelepas shortly, officials say.

The activation of CSI at Kelang was first announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner on March 5. U.S. Customs officers have been posted at the port to assist Malaysian inspectors in screening containers destined for U.S. ports.

Malaysia had been reluctant to ramp up the program, fearing delays to U.S.-bound shipments.

Selangor state customs deputy director Siti Aminah Abdullah said 12 Malaysian customs officers are working with five U.S. counterparts at Kelang.

A spokesman at Malaysian customs said the inspections cover only 1 percent to 3 percent of containers screened before they are loaded.

Three X-ray machines are in place at Kelang to scan inbound and outbound containers from various destinations, and a fourth will be added, the spokesman said.

-- P.T. Bangsberg in Manila