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January 31, 2007 12:15 PM, EST

Security & Safety Briefs — Jan. 25 - Jan. 31

This briefing can be e-mailed to you every week. Just click here to register.The Latest Headlines:

TSA Awards TWIC Contract to Lockheed Martin

The Transportation Security Administration said it selected a team led by Lockheed Martin to provide services for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.The TWIC program was set up by the government to issue biometric identification cards to workers at U.S. ports. TSA issued its final rule for the program in early January. (Click here for previous coverage.)Under the awarded task order, Lockheed Martin will enroll and credential approximately 750,000 workers at U.S. ports in the next 16 months. About 1.1 million port-worker enrollments are anticipated by TSA over the five-year contract period.Phase IV of the TWIC program may be expanded beyond the port community to other modes of transportation, with a maximum of 6 million credentials to be issued under the contract, TSA said. Workers enrolled in the TWIC program will be charged a fee of $137.25. Transport Topics

Canada Passes Border Security Bill

A new Canada-U.S. border regulation law finalized in Canada’s House of Commons Monday will give Canadian authorities sweeping control over Canada’s 24 border crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, the Windsor Star reported.Under the new law, Transport Canada will have full control over maintenance, tolls and security of all border crossings in Canada and at any future crossings.The new statute means that Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun will no longer be able to keep the government out of his business, the Star reported.Bridge executives had voiced their opposition to the bill, seeking to protect the company’s C$60 million annual revenue.Transport Canada said the bill was not an attack on Moroun’s company, but a way to “ensure the safety and security for all Canadians,” the paper reported. Transport Topics

Railroads to Get More Safety Scrutiny

U.S. freight railroads should expect more scrutiny on worker fatigue and other safety issues this year, Bloomberg reported.Reps. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), who heads the panel’s railroad subcommittee, said they will work with federal agencies to bolster rail oversight, Bloomberg reported.While the rail industry’s safety record has improved, significant accidents continue to occur and the accident rate has not improved, Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel III told the subcommittee Tuesday.A spokesman for the Association of American Railroads, which represents major U.S. rail carriers, said railroads are working with employees to address fatigue, a long-running industry problem because of round-the-clock scheduling.Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joseph Boardman told the subcommittee he supports reviewing a 1969 law that dictates how many hours rail employees may work. Those limits include 12 hours on duty for locomotive operators with a minimum of eight hours off. Transport Topics

EU Customs Chief Criticizes Cargo-Screening Measure

A U.S. House measure to require the screening of all cargo on U.S.-bound ships overseas is premature and would needlessly add to business expense, the European Union’s chief customs official said, Bloomberg reported.Laszlo Kovacs, the EU’s taxation and customs commissioner, said Congress should wait for the results of pilot programs to assess the effectiveness of screening all packages, Bloomberg reported.The legislation could cost legitimate businesses “a lot of time and money,” Kovacs wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Bloomberg said.The measure passed the House Jan. 9 and needs the cooperation of 147 countries that run the 704 ports that export to the U.S. every year, Bloomberg said. Kovacs’ skepticism may affect how the screening is implemented at big European ports such as Antwerp, Belgium, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Transport TopicsPrevious Security & Safety Briefs