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Study on keeping nuclear bombs from US ports shows misplaced fear over cargo scanning cost
Date:8/14/2009

to shipping manifest data can trigger the need for more intensive NII."

The authors' research shows that disruptions at major terminals could be significant under CSI. If there is limited scanning and radiation capacity, containers could sit idle at ports for an extended time. The additional logistics requirements that arise due to the need to divert containers within port terminals for inspection could lead to major congestion.

The current CSI protocol relies on removing targeted containers that are in terminal yards made up of thousands of containers, stacked up to six-high. Targeted containers must then be moved to an inspection facility where their contents are scanned using sensitive equipment. This is a slow process that involves sophisticated tools and specialized training that only support limited throughput. Consequently, there would be major delays associated with attempting to scan more than the small fraction of U.S.-bound containers that the system now handles, especially if there is a terrorist incident or a raised security alert requiring more overseas inspections.

Using simulation, the authors find that no more than 5% of U.S.-bound traffic flowing through one port and 1.5% of traffic through a larger port can be handled by the equipment and procedures used in the CSI approach, before the number of containers awaiting inspection starts growing more rapidly than those that can be inspected.

Costs varied considerably as well, with the CSI method costing roughly $100 per inspected container, and the SFI method favored by the authors costing $1-2 for containers passing through a single screening and an additional $11-$13 for containers that require secondary inspection. This was, in part, due to the cost of inspection being defrayed over only U.S.-bound container traffic under the CSI protocol, as opposed to spreading them over the entire volume of container traffic at a terminal (for the initial primary scan) under the S
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Contact: Barry List
barry.list@informs.org
443-757-3560
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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