Security improved at Suffolk port
TENS of millions of pounds are to be spent on improving security at Felixstowe port to prevent a terrorist attack.More CCTV cameras, extra steel fencing, tighter controls on terminal areas, more security guards and port police, and ID cards for everyone working at the complex will be features of the huge package of measures.
TENS of millions of pounds are to be spent on improving security at Felixstowe port to prevent a terrorist attack.
More CCTV cameras, extra steel fencing, tighter controls on terminal areas, more security guards and port police, and ID cards for everyone working at the complex will be features of the huge package of measures.
In addition, dozens of extra customs officers will be stationed at the port to carry out inspections of cargo and gather intelligence, and radiological scanners will test consignments for nuclear material.
The work will be paid for by controversial new security charges being imposed on every full box imported and exported – dubbed a "terror tax" by shippers.
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Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said the new charges – £5.50 per container on exports and £10.50 on every imported box – were designed so that no profit would be made from them.
"All the money will be spent on the security measures which we need to put in place," he said.
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"It had originally been hoped that the government would pay for the extra security but they have made it clear that there are no funds available and the industry will have to find a way of paying for it.
"These charges will be passed through the system and eventually onto the customer who pays for the goods, but on the scale of things the charge is very small. If it costs £1,000 to send a container through Felixstowe, then £5 or £10 is not going to add much."
If a box contained 10,000 pairs of good quality training shoes, it probably worked out less than a fraction of a penny on the price of each pair.
"I think most people recognise that security is a much bigger issue today. There are costs involved and those costs are part of the transportation of goods and have to be recovered somehow," he said.
One of the biggest projects at the port will be to make container terminals more secure and seal them off with extra fencing and ID checks, which will also be a bonus in helping to prevent lorry thefts.
All truckers using the port regularly will be issued with a port ID card, and those who don't have one will have to use other ID to receive a day pass to get on and off, which will add some delay.
"Most drivers are regular users and they will have their own cards, and once these are issued things should run very smoothly," said Mr Davey.
Government security experts have visited the port, which currently has the capacity to handle around 2.5 million standard-sized boxes a year, and advised on what needs to be done and the port has drawn up a full plan.
n Do you think the government should be paying for extra security at Felixstowe port? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk