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Cablegate: First Megaports Pilot Project Review Concluded

VZCZCXRO5412
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGP #2120 1810159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300159Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0456
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2230
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0537
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5404
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6031
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0010
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 002120

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DOE/NNSA KASTOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EWWT TRGY KSCA KNNP PARM PTER SN
SUBJECT: FIRST MEGAPORTS PILOT PROJECT REVIEW CONCLUDED

REF: SINGAPORE 1153

1. (SBU) Summary: The Department of Energy (DOE) and
Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA)
recently concluded a first review of the Megaports pilot
project (reftel), with a tentative agreement to expand the
program in Singapore to include more transshipped cargo. ICA
officials told the DOE team that they would deliver a
proposal outlining suggested next steps for the project in
early July, when the DOE team plans to return for a second
review. End summary.

2. (SBU) In discussing how to expand the scope of the
project, in particular whether to cover more transshipped
cargo, the DOE team rejected ICA's initial suggestion to
leave it unchanged; DOE argued that the amount of cargo
captured would otherwise be statistically and operationally
too limited to make the Megaports program effective in the
longer term. As now structured, Megaports scans only exports
of Singapore origin and what is estimated to be no more than
one percent of transshipped cargo. (Note: Singapore is the
world's busiest transshipment port and has been hesitant to
agree to any expansion of the project that could interfere,
in its view, with port efficiency. End note.) Both sides
agreed "in principle" to increase the amount of
transshipments scanned, although an exact percentage was not
discussed. Pending DOE concurrence with ICA's proposal,
expansion of the project will tentatively commence in April
2007, taking into account time for ICA to make necessary
changes to its port logistics computer system.

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3. (SBU) Based on its initial assessment, the DOE team
concluded that ICA is taking the Megaports project seriously
and appears to have adjusted certain of its expectations
since the pilot's inception. For example, ICA originally
insisted on keeping scanning related delays below 15 seconds
per container. Current delays are longer on average, but ICA
officials have expressed few concerns with this outcome and
are pleased with the progress they have made to reduce the
delays. According to the DOE team, ICA officials are also
beginning to recognize the benefits that would be derived
from comprehensive scanning of all containers for
radiological materials. They remain concerned, however,
about the manpower required for implementation on this scale.
CHARBONNET

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