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A U.S. law mandating nonintrusive imaging and radiation detection for 100% of U.S.-bound containers at international ports has provoked widespread concern that the resulting congestion would hinder trade significantly. Using detailed data on container movements, gathered from two large international terminals, we simulate the impact of the two most important inspection policies that are being considered. We find that the current inspection regime being advanced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can only handle a small percentage of the total load. An alternate inspection protocol that emphasizes screening—a rapid primary scan of all containers, followed by a more careful secondary scan of only a few containers that fail the primary test—holds promise as a feasible solution for meeting the 100% scanning requirement.
homeland security, container inspections, queueing simulation
Bakshi, N., Flynn, S. E., & Gans, N. F. (2011). Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports. Management Science, 57 (1), 1-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1252
Date Posted: 27 November 2017