News Releases

Senator Murray Announces Over $17 Million in Grants for Operation Safe Commerce

Apr 11 2005

Funding includes more than $5 million for Port of Seattle/Tacoma to implement Murray-authored port security program

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – United States Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced more than $17 million in grants to Operation Safe Commerce (OSC), a program she authored to help protect our nation’s container ports from a terrorist attack.

“I’m very excited about this funding for Operation Safe Commerce,” Murray said. “The cargo entering our nation’s ports is among our greatest vulnerabilities, and this funding will allow three of our nation’s busiest ports to more effectively secure cargo being shipped from ports all over the world.”

As many as ten million cargo containers will enter our nation’s ports next year. Over the past year, 3.6 million containers entered the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma alone. Operation Safe Commerce allows the three busiest load centers – the ports of New York/New Jersey, Seattle/Tacoma, and Los Angeles/Long Beach – to track cargo containers from their point of origin in the global supply chain to their entry in the ports. The grants included in today’s announcement fund OSC operations at the three OSC ports, as follows:

  • Ports of Seattle and Tacoma - $5.2 million
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - $5.2 million
  • Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach - $6.7 million

Previously, in early rounds of OSC, only a small number of containers were inspected through OSC; given the program’s success, this new funding will be used to test the program under real-world conditions, with greatly increased container flow.

"From overseas points of origin to our store shelves in America, Operation Safe Commerce successfully evaluated the points of vulnerability of our supply chain. Along the way, OSC identified best practices, policies and procedures to help improve the security of our citizens," said Port of Tacoma Executive Director Timothy J. Farrell. "Thanks to the continued support of Senator Patty Murray, the next round of OSC will now 'stress test' what we learned, and it will provide the maritime industry a basis for future international standards for more secure container shipping."

“In the State of Washington, maritime security and economic security are one and the same,” said Port of Seattle CEO Mic Dinsmore. “Senator Murray’s leadership in the area of maritime security protects the state’s and the nation’s economic well-being and helps keep global commerce on the move.”

Murray, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who sits on the Subcommittee for Homeland Security, has long been an advocate for increased security at our nation’s ports. She authored OSC after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and has since secured $75 million in funding for the program, winning Congressional approval of $28 million in July 2002 and another $30 million in February, 2003. This final $17 million was included in the DHS Appropriations bill for FY 04 by Senator Murray, and will be released on April 12.