One new experience for me since I started riding shotgun is going to ports of entry. I hadn’t really considered before what it might be like to visit a place that’s essentially an very wet entrance/exit to these United States.
My first visit took place several years ago at a port near Corpus Christi, Texas. We had to go through a gate, show our photo identification and be escorted to to where we picked up our load and then back to the gate.
Recently, we had to deliver a load to the port of Savannah, Georgia. Because of some security changes, we had to have a TWIC escort. Basically, that’s a person with a special security identification that allows them to move freely around the port. More specifically, according to http://www.tsa.gov, “The Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as TWIC®, is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels.”
Our TWIC escort met us at the gate and had to physically be with us the entire time we were inside the gate. She even hung out with us while our trailer was unloaded. We were required to wear safety vests, as well.
A few days ago, we went to the port of Albany, New York. The procedures were basically like the ones in Savannah except that I didn’t have to get out of the truck and our TWIC escort led us to where we needed to go in his security truck.
Apparently truck drivers who frequent ports for their jobs can apply for their own TWIC cards by paying a fee and submitting to a rigorous background check. They also have to meet specific requirements regarding their criminal history and citizenship status.
I know we can’t guarantee that everyone crossing our borders or working around them is going to intend only good for our citizens, but it’s good to know someone in our government is working on it.
Until next time, readers, drive safely out there 🙂