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Warning to Australian ports over security complacency
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 18:40

With the volume of trade to come through the country’s ports expected to triple over the next 20 years, Australia cannot afford to be complacent about security, according to John Kendall, director of security programs for Unisys Asia-Pacific.

Speaking at the Port and Maritime Security 2011 conference in Melbourne, Kendall said the current port security landscape is characterised by evolving threats, changing regulations, demanding stakeholders, and a plethora of security solution providers jockeying for attention and a piece of the port operations budget.

“Australia’s reputation for safe secure and efficient ports face daily security threats, including drugs, people and contraband,” said Kendall. “With up to 25 organisations involved in the shipment of a computerised cargo from point of origin to port entry, port security is extremely complex.”

The most recent Unisys Security Index has revealed that port security is not high on the public agenda. Only 34 percent of the Australian public perceives freight sent by air, sea or land to be vulnerable to malicious or terrorist attack. This was the third-lowest level of concern globally (only New Zealand & Netherlands were less concerned).

“While public perception may not match the reality of maritime security, commercial and policy decision makers must not be lulled into a false sense of security,” added Kendall.

According to Unisys, ports must develop a security roadmap to ensure maximum efficiency and security. The roadmap will identify and prioritise the areas of vulnerability requiring immediate action. The objective is a fully integrated system to address all four areas of port security: operational security, personnel security, IT and cargo security, and physical/perimeter security.