In the United States, there are 361 ports and many more harbors, piers, and ferry vessel landings that may be potential terrorism targets. To ensure the security of our Nation, it is critical that an emphasis be placed on maritime and port security, which represents one of our largest vulnerabilities.
An attack on a major port in the United States could have severe consequences to trade and our security. To put into perspective the importance of our maritime ports, our nation’s seaports handle over $1.3 trillion tons in cargo each year and generates more than 13 million U.S. jobs. Each day our maritime infrastructure ships around 9 million barrels of imported crude oil and other petroleum products and 25 percent of all hazardous materials.
Foreign vessels make 51,000 calls on U.S. ports each year. However, the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection agents can thoroughly inspect only about 5 percent of the 9 million shipping containers that arrive at U.S. ports every year.
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