Container Security Initiative (CSI)

US Customs & Border Protection

Non-intrusive Cargo Inspection

Supply Chain Security

The Container Security Initiative (CSI) was developed by U.S. Customs, now the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. CSI addresses the threat to border security and global trade posed by the potential for terrorist use of a maritime container to deliver a weapon.


2.           How Does CSI Work?

(a)          CSI is a security regime designed to ensure that all containers that pose a potential risk for terrorism are identified and inspected at foreign ports before they are placed on vessels destined for the United Sates.

(b)          CBP has stationed multidisciplinary teams of U.S. officers from both CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to work together with host foreign government counterparts at CSI ports. Their mission is to target and prescreen containers and to develop additional investigative leads related to the terrorist threat to cargo destined to the United States.

(c)           The concept is to prevent terrorist threats from being carried out and to make U.S. borders the last line of defense, not the first.

(d)          Announced in January 2002, CSI was first implemented in the ports shipping the greatest volume of containers to the United States. CBP has entered into bilateral discussions with all the foreign governments where high volume ports are located and is now expanding to additional ports in strategic locations.

3.            CSI Core Elements

(a)          Identify high-risk containers. CBP uses automated targeting tools to identify containers that pose a potential risk for terrorism, based on advance information and strategic intelligence.

(b)          Prescreen and evaluate containers before they are shipped. Containers are screened as early in the supply chain as possible, generally at the port of departure.

(c)           Use technology to prescreen high-risk containers to en- sure that screening can be done rapidly without slowing down the movement of trade. This technology includes large-scale X-ray and gamma ray machines and radiation detection devices.

(d)          Use smarter, more secure containers, which will allow CBP officers at United States ports of arrival to identify containers that have been tampered with during transit.

4.            Program Reciprocity

(a)          Through CSI, CBP officers work with host customs administrations to establish security criteria for identifying high-risk containers. Those administrations use non-intrusive inspection (Nil) and radiation detection technology to screen high-risk containers before they are shipped to U.S. ports.

(b)          CSI is a reciprocal program, and offers CSI participant countries the opportunity to send their customs officers to major U.S. ports to target ocean-going, containerized cargo to be exported to their countries. Likewise, CBP shares information on a bilateral basis with its CSI partners. Japan and Canada currently station their customs personnel in some U.S. ports as part of the CSI program.

5.            CSI Goals

(a)          CBP’s goal is to have 50 operational CSI ports by the end of fiscal year 2006. At that time, approximately 90 percent of all transatlantic and transpacific cargo imported into the United States will be subjected to prescreening. CSI continues to expand to strategic locations around the world. The World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union (EU), and the G8 support CSI expansion and have adopted resolutions implementing CSI security measures introduced at ports throughout the world.

(b)          Countries Committed to CSI

(c)           At this writing, forty four ports in twenty five countries are participating in the CSI initiative.

(d)          Operational CSI Ports by Operational Date

(e)          Currently operational ports and the month and year they became operational are:

(f)           Halifax, Montreal, and Vancouver, Canada (03/02)

(g)          Rotterdam, The Netherlands (09/02/02)

(h)          Le Havre, France (12/02/02)

(i)           Marseille, France (01/07/05)

(j)           Bremerhaven, Germany (02/02/03)

(k)          Hamburg, Germany (02/09/03)

(l)           Antwerp, Belgium (02/23/03)

(m)         Zeebrugge, Belgium (10/29/04)

(n)          Singapore (03/10/03)

(o)          Yokohama, Japan (03/24/03)

(p)          Tokyo, Japan (05/21/04)

(q)          Hong Kong (05/05/03)

(r)           Gothenburg, Sweden (05/23/03)

(s)          Felixstowe, United Kingdom (U.K.) (05/24/03)

(t)           Liverpool, Thamesport, Tilbury, and Southampton, U.K.(11/01/04)

(u)          Genoa, Italy (06/16/03)

(v)          La Spezia, Italy (06/23/03)

(w)         Livorno, Italy (12/30/04)

(x)          Naples, Italy (09/30/04)

(y)          Gioia Tauro, Italy (10/31 /04)

(z)          Pusan, Korea (08/04/03)

(aa)        Durban, South Africa (12/01/03)

(bb)        Port Klang, Malaysia (03/08/04)

(cc)        Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia (8/16/04)

(dd)       Piraeus, Greece (07/27/04)

(ee)       Algeciras, Spain (07/30/04)

(ff)         Nagoya and Kobe, Japan (08/06/04)

(gg)       Laem Chabang, Thailand (8/13/04)

(hh)       Dubai; United Arab Emirates (UAE) (03/26/05)

(ii)         Shanghai (04/28/05)

(jj)         Shenzhen (06/24/05)

(kk)       Kaohsiung (07/25/05)

(ll)         Santos, Brazil (09/22/05)

(mm)     Colombo, Sri Lanka (09/29/05)

(nn)       Buenos Aires, Argentina (11/17/05)

(oo)       Lisbon, Portugal (12/14/05)

(pp)       Port Salalah, Oman (03/08/06)

(qq)       Puerto Cortes, Honduras (03/25/06)

(rr)        Port Qasim, Pakistan (03/11/08)

(ss)       Operational CSI Ports by Region

In the Americas

(uu)       Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax, Canada

(vv)        Santos, Brazil

(ww)      Buenos Aires, Argentina

(xx)       Puerto Cortes, Honduras

In Europe

(zz)       Rotterdam, The Netherlands

(aaa)     Bremerhaven and Hamburg, Germany

(bbb)     Antwerp and Zeebrugge, Belgium

(ccc)     Le Havre and Marseille, France

(ddd)     Gothenburg, Sweden

(eee)     La Spezia, Genoa, Naples, Gioia Tauro, and Livorno, Italy

(fff)        Felixstowe, Liverpool, Thamesport, Tilbury, and Southampton, United Kingdom (U.K.)

(ggg)     Piraeus, Greece

(hhh)     Algeciras, Spain

(iii)        Lisbon, Portugal

In Asia and the East

(kkk)      Singapore

(lll)          Yokohama, Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe, Japan

(mmm) Hong Kong, SAR China

(nnn)     Pusan, South Korea

(ooo)     Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia

(ppp)     Laem Chabang, Thailand

(qqq)     Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

(rrr)        Shenzhen and Shanghai, China

(sss)      Kaohsiung, Taiwan

(ttt)        Colombo, Sri Lanka

(uuu)     Port Salalah, Oman

In Africa

(www)     Durban, South Africa

Minimum Standards for CSI Expansion

The following standards must be present in a potential CSI ! port to be considered for inclusion in the CSI program:

(a)          The seaport must have regular, direct and substantial container traffic to ports in the United States.

(b)          The CBP Administration must be able to inspect cargo originating, transiting, exiting or being transshipped through a country.

(c)          The port must have or make non-intrusive inspection (Nil) equipment (gamma or X-ray) and radiation detection equipment available for use at or near the potential CSI port. This equipment is necessary to meet the objective of quickly screening containers without disrupting the flow of legitimate trade.

(d)          The port must commit to establish a risk management system to identify potential high-risk containers and to the automation of that system. This system should include a mechanism to validate threat assessments and identify best practices.

(e)          The port must commit to share critical data, intelligence and risk management information with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in order to do collaborative targeting, and develop an automated mechanism for these exchanges.

(f)          The port must conduct a thorough port assessment to as- certain vulnerable links in its infrastructure and commit to resolving port infrastructure vulnerabilities.

(g)          The port must commit to maintain integrity programs, and identify and combat breaches in integrity.

6.            CBP Officers Abroad

(a)          Along with the host country, CBP officers deployed in foreign countries will be targeting only cargo containers destined for or transiting through the United States. Only those U.S.-bound containers identified as potential threats will be examined either by Nil or physical exams. Host-country officials will conduct the examination and CBP officers will observe the security screening.

(b)          CBP Officers at CSI ports abroad will not be armed nor will they have arrest powers. The officers will be working jointly with the host country authorities to screen U.S.-bound containers. They will operate in accordance with the guidelines of the host country and the terms of the declaration of principles to implement CSI. The staffing levels of CBP offices at each port will be determined by the size of the port, the number of containers (TEUs) shipped monthly and annually, the availability of specialized equipment and by other security factors. Staffing levels will be assessed as the program develops, and adjustments will be made as necessary.

7.            Will CSI Delay the Flow of Goods?

(a)          CBP maintains that the CSI will not delay the transport of containers. Containers typically sit on the pier for several days waiting to be exported. CSI will target containers and screen them during this period before they depart. The CBP expects to use this waiting time at the port of export to do their work. Obviously, there will be a burden on exporters to get containers to the port in sufficient time for CBP and local officials to do their work.

(b)          CBP maintains that high-risk containers will be searched, either prior to export to the U.S. or in the U.S. It’s a question of where and when, not if.

(c)           On the other hand, the movement of low-risk cargo and containers may become even more efficient as a result of the Initiative as these too will be prescreened.

8.            Is CSI a Trade Barrier?

(a)          While some exporters to the U.S. feel that CSI might become a trade barrier, the ultimate trade barrier would be a terrorist attack using shipping containers that would halt all trade.

(b)          Consensus opinion is that the CSI is similar to security measures at airports that protect individual passengers, aircraft and crew. It is simply one of the costs of doing business. CBP maintains that high risk containers will be inspected regardless. CSI is merely a program that screens containers before they depart for U.S. ports of entry rather than after they arrive on U.S. shores.

9.            Benefits to Being a CSI Port

(a)          The CSI is a deterrent to terrorist organizations that may seek to target a foreign port. It provides a significant measure of security for the participating port as well as the United States. CSI will also provide better security for the global trading system as a whole. If terrorists were to carry out an attack on a seaport using a cargo container, the maritime trading system would likely grind to a halt until seaport security is improved. Those seaports participating in the CSI will be able to begin handling containerized cargo far sooner than other ports that haven’t taken steps to enhance security. In short, CSI is an insurance policy against the threat of a terrorist attack, not just to the U.S., but to the CSI port and to the trading system as a whole.

10.          Economic Advantages to CSI Ports

(a)          Economic advantages to CSI ports fall into several categories:

(b)          Non-intrusive inspection of containers and expedited clearance in U.S. ports

(c)           The advantages of inspecting containers at the earliest possible point in the supply chain will be a benefit to a CSI port and those foreign exporters using that port. The integrity of the shipment will be better ensured by using pre-arrival information and non-intrusive inspection equipment at foreign port locations, thus expediting their clearance upon arrival in the United States.

11.          A terrorist attack resulting from a non-CSI port

(a)          In the event of a terrorist attack using a cargo container, CSI ports would experience the least disruption because they have CSI in place. In the event of a terrorist attack, the CSI ports would have a competitive advantage.

12.          Eventual CSI requirement for all ports

(a)          A reasonable expectation is that all goods or containers shipped to the U.S. will have to pass through a CSI port prior to their shipment. If this become the case, shippers from non-CSI ports will first have to ship to a CSI port for inspection. This will add additional costs to their shipments.

13.          Expedited CBP Processing of CSI Cargo

(a)          Pre-screened U.S.-bound sea cargo will get expedited processing through CBP upon arrival to the United States. CBP has determined that if a shipment has already been jointly examined by the U.S. and the host country’s customs officials, it means one less shipment that CBP officers will have to worry about at a U.S. port. It will allow CBP to focus more attention on high-risk shipments that have not been pre-screened.

(b)          New technology, such as tamper-evident seals, are expected to be placed on containers that have been pre-screened overseas to assist in this process. CBP reserves the right to inspect any cargo container that arrives in the United States, whether it has been prescreened or not. However, this will occur only if additional information has become available or the integrity of a seal is compromised.

14.          Equipment and Costs

(a)          CSI implementation requires the host country to have Nil (non-intrusive inspection) equipment (including gamma or X-ray imaging equipment) to help scan containers. Many of the ports and major exporting countries already have large container screening machines. In fact, some ports already have extremely sophisticated detection technology in operation.

(b)          The host country will determine who pays for the direct cost of screening and unloading containers. In the U.S., however, the importer pays the costs associated with moving, inspecting, and unloading containers. The CBP does not believe that CSI will entail substantial new costs to the host nations. CBP will pay to deploy officers and computers in foreign seaports, and many host nations already have screening and detection technology in place. To the extent that additional detector or IT equipment is needed to implement CSI, CBP believes that the investment is well worth it. CBP considers it insurance; CSI protects both the port and the national economy of a CSI host country.

15.          Model Laws and Regulations for Host Countries

(a)          When discussing the implementation of CSI, a nation depends upon its native laws and customs. The CBP response has been to draft separate and unique declarations with each participating port to accommodate differences. In addition, as CSI is a cooperative effort, CBP is willing to assist foreign governments in reviewing existing laws and crafting new legislation to support implementation if they so desire.

16.          CSI’s Effect on Trade/Time/Paperwork

(a)          CSI is expected to have a significant long-term global impact on trade and trade security. Through collaborative targeting and analysis, international trade will become more secure in each CSI port.

(b)          Exports destined for or transiting the U.S., must be compliant with the U.S. 24-hour rule, which requires 14 data elements to be reported 24 hours prior to loading aboard a vessel destined for the U.S.

17.          Delays as a Result of the CSI

(a)          The CBP maintains that the targeting and examination of shipments will be accomplished during the lag time between arrival at the foreign port and ship loading for departure to a U.S. port. Therefore, in theory, it will not take more time to export products. Obviously, shipments not in compliance will face delays.

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