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Yann Alix, Frederic Carluer and Brian Slack

Articles, 2010, vol. 37, issue 1

Abstract: The ‘100% scanning’ law, or House Resolution One (H.R. 1), aims to protect US territory against terrorist risks likely to affect the global logistics chain. A unilateral step, it may be perceived as a disguised protectionist measure which would transfer the risk of ‘seacurity’ to its partners, particularly if the principle of reciprocity does not apply. In this changing economic (over 400 million containers handled, under 0.5% of which are currently scanned) and regulatory context (following the SAFE framework of standards developed by the World Customs Organization), this paper provides an analysis of the likely impacts of this law. The first part begins by examining the reactions to the introduction of the law and we draw upon official and operational responses to the scanning requirements from several international bodies, especially a survey of a sample of port authorities that the authors undertook for the WCO which focuses on an appraisal of the global cost of a scanned container and we broaden this evidence by considering the actual patterns of US trade. The second part leads to six scenarios based on the preceding macro- and microeconomic results combining three dimensions : infrastructure investments, technology and productivity of human resources.

Date: 2010
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