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Cablegate: New U.S. Law On Maritime Cargo Scanning

VZCZCXRO2444
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #1651 2402054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 282054Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6445
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS OTTAWA 001651

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, EEB/TRA, AND S/CT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EWWT AMGT PTER CA
SUBJECT: NEW U.S. LAW ON MARITIME CARGO SCANNING
REQUIREMENTS: INITIAL CANADIAN REACTION

REF: STATE 119837

1. (U) Although Embassy Ottawa is so far unaware of any
official Canadian reaction to the new U.S. law, media reports
indicate that administrators of Canada's posts are meeting
this week in Montreal to figure out how exactly the law will
affect their operations. George Malec, vice president of
operations and security at the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Port
Authority was quoted in an article appearing in the August 28
Montreal Gazette as saying "we are checking this (law) very
closely with our U.S. contacts. We think it needs a little
more examination on the impact it will have on us."

2. (U) There may be some confusion in Canada about what the
law will require. For instance, the Montreal Port Authority
handles more than one million containers (20-foot equivalent)
a year, about half of which are destined for the U.S., either
by truck or rail. The Gazette article indicated that senior
port officials wonder that if the new law does not apply to
cargo sent by truck or rail, would Canadian customs agencies
be required to screen containers arriving in Canada? It
quotes Bob Hart, vice president and CFO of the Hamilton
(Ontario) Port Authority and Don Krusel, president and CEO of
the Prince Rupert (BC) Port Authority as believing that the
law will not affect their operations.

3. (U) But Malec and Montreal Port Authority president and
CEO Dominic Taddeo questioned what kind of scanning the U.S.
has in mind. Last spring, new radiation detection equipment
was installed at the Port of Montreal to allow the Canada
Border Services Agency (CBSA) to check containers for
potentially dangerous substances. These radiation detection
systems are also in use at terminals in St. John, New
Brunswick and their installation is underway in Vancouver and
Halifax. Taddeo said that the use of the new radiation
detection portals to screen virtually all containers arriving
at Montreal has not caused delays. "All these people who are
complaining and screaming will have to adjust," he said.
"Our traffic keeps going up, so the figures speak for
themselves."

4. (U) Mission Canada will continue to monitor Canadian
reactions to the new U.S. maritime cargo scanning
requirements and report developments to Washington agencies.

Visit our shared North American Partnership blog (Canada & Mexico) at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap

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