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Cablegate: Csi - Favorable Cartagena Assesment

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008412

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD SNAR PTER CO
SUBJECT: CSI - FAVORABLE CARTAGENA ASSESMENT

1. Summary: The Port of Cartagena impressed visiting
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and
Border Protection (CBP) officials, and the joint team will
recommend that the port be accepted as a Container Security
Initiative (CSI) facility. End Summary.

2. On August 30-Sept. 2, a CBP Container Security
Initiative team, invited by Colombian Ambassador Luis
Alberto Moreno, visited Cartagena to assess the feasibility
of establishing a CSI program at the city's private port
facilities. In addition to the assessment, the team met
with military and law enforcement officials, local business
leaders, and security managers from Colombia's other private
port concessions.

--------------------------------------------
Elements of Cartagena's Favorable Assessment
--------------------------------------------

3. The favorable assessment of Cartagena by the CSI team
was based on the following factors:

-- In terms of the volume of container traffic to the
U.S., Cartagena ranks 68 out of 600 international
ports.
-- Cartagena is strategically located near the U.S., on
the north coast of Colombia.
-- The Port Society of Cartagena is in the process of
identifying and purchasing a non-intrusive inspection
system (container-sized x-ray or gamma scanner).
-- The port facilities (office space/computer systems) and
security situation in Cartagena would allow for the
permanent deployment of the five-person CSI team.

----------
Next Steps
----------

4. The CSI team will pass its assessment report to the
Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, who,
according the CSI team leader, will likely approve the
recommendation to bring CSI to Cartagena. The USG would
then begin negotiations with the GOC on a Declaration of
Principles (DOP), an agreement which will formalize the
bilateral cooperation associated with the CSI program. If
the negotiations move forward as planned, the CSI program
could be up and running in Cartagena within 6-8 months.

-------
Comment
-------

5. While the main focus of the CSI is to screen cargo
containers for materials related to terrorist threats
against the United States, the GOC expects the program will
assist the Colombian National Police in its fight against
drug trafficking and narco-terrorism. The large-scale
scanning system envisioned by the Port of Cartagena will
reduce inspection times drastically, and make the
inspections more effective. In addition, CSI screening in
country will reduce wait times for some cargo containers by
up to two weeks. All of this adds up to a competitive
advantage for Cartagena, should it become a CSI port.
Officials from other private ports in Colombia, especially
the Port of Buenaventura, expressed concern over this
potential advantage. The Embassy fully supports the
recommendation that Cartagena participate in the CSI
program.

WOOD

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