The objective of the programme, a trial of which has already commenced at Port Qasim, Pakistan; Puerto Cortes in Honduras and Southampton in UK, is to scan 100% of cargo containers. These ports were selected due to their limited volumes, which would make the test process manageable.
CBP is evaluating the results from the machines it receives at its National Targeting Centre. These include the container flows as trucks are funnelled through gates with the drive-by equipment, environmental effects on the inspection equipment and other factors to assess the impact of 100% scanning on trade and Customs operations.
CBP has also sent teams out to interview terminal operators and ocean carriers and plans to survey shippers who move cargo through the pilot ports.
In addition, and outside the scope of the initial program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will test the scan-all approach in four high-volume ports on a limited basis. Automated inspections will take place at single terminals at the Ports of:
Busan, South Korea
The programme has already faced challenges, including 115 degree temperatures in Pakistan that caused problems with the images, and wet conditions in Honduras that meant the equipment had to dry out before X-ray or gamma ray pictures could be taken.
CBP is expected to engage an independent advisory board of economists to ensure that all the performance metrics are properly identified and assessed.