Monday AM March 16th, 2009

The deadline for transportation worker identification credentials is approaching, affecting most workers at the Port of Houston. Ed Mayberry reports.

image of TWIC logo

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential — or TWIC — is to prevent unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system.  Port of Houston Acting Chairman Wade Battles says the TWIC program was set up by the Department of Homeland Security.

“To provide an identification credential so that workers could be put through a federal background check.”

Ed: “So most PHA employees, as well as the contractors, subcontractors, I mean, do you need one for example?”

“Absolutely.  It’s port employees, it’s longshoremen, it’s the company who’s delivering Frito-Lay potato chips to the cruise ship.  A wide, wide variety of people.”

TWIC is a “smart” card, with the worker’s name, photo and biometric information.

“What it is, is a contactless reader that includes information about the individual, including his biometric fingerprint template.  If your daily livelihood is dependent upon you having access to the restricted areas, you must get your TWIC because you will be denied access effective this coming April 14th.”

Individuals required to have a TWIC must be in compliance by April 14th, and the application process takes about three weeks.  So applicants have just days to apply.  Enrollment centers are at Turning Basin Drive and on South Broadway in La Porte. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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