HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1308-9W
Patrick Mercer

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are being taken to improve the screening of freight containers for terrorist material. [152372]

Mr. Jamieson

The United Kingdom has a comprehensive security regime in place that it designed to protect the public while minimising the effect on trade and freedom of movement.

My Department works closely with HM Customs and Excise and others to enhance the existing security provisions relating to freight containers. For obvious reasons, it is not our practice to provide details of these measures. As part of this process the UK has signed up the US Container Security Initiative, whereby intelligence is shared between US and host nation Customs' officials. This operation is running in 19 countries and is proving very effective.

Our existing national regime will be augmented later this year with the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) global maritime security regime, and within this the UK has identified containerised freight as being an area of specific interest.