Securing the global supply chain

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger shakes hands with Rick Larrabee, Director of the Port Commerce Department, before presenting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the first bi-annual Rear Adm. Richard E. Bennis Security Award, Oct. 8, 2014, at the World Trade Center Memorial.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger shakes hands with retired Adm. Rick Larrabee, Director of the Port Commerce Department, before presenting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the first bi-annual Rear Adm. Richard E. Bennis Security Award, Oct. 8, 2014, at the World Trade Center Memorial. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi.

The world relies on the sea for commerce. In fact, approximately 90 percent of the world’s trade in goods is shipped by sea and that reliance continues to grow stronger with time. As Americans, we are connected to this global industry that powers the movement of goods and supports our way of life.

Because maritime trade is an engine for economic growth, any disruption, however localized, can impact economies around the world. The Coast Guard safeguards maritime commerce through its unique authorities and capabilities, but protecting ports require unparalleled collaboration at every level. As Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy, puts it, “We all own the marine transportation system and we all have a part in securing it.”

One port that knows all too well the intricacies of securing maritime commerce is The Port of New York and New Jersey. As the third largest container port in the United States, the largest on the east coast and the 25th largest in the world, The Port of New York and New Jersey’s “local business” is anything but.

Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger speaks at the World Trade Center Memorial before presenting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the first bi-annual Rear Adm. Richard E. Bennis Award.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger speaks at the World Trade Center Memorial before presenting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the first bi-annual Rear Adm. Richard E. Bennis Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

In fact, the port handles more than 14 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo volume and 61 percent of the North Atlantic market share. In 2012, the port serviced 6,700 deep draft ship calls transporting 80.8 million metric tons of general cargo and more than 700,000 automobiles.

So what’s that mean in dollars? More than $171 billion in cargo, representing $37.1 billion in economic activity.

In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, The Port of New York and New Jersey has continued to sharpen protection efforts. Serving as a model for public-private collaboration, their work in securing the marine transportation system garnered them the Rear Adm. Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in Maritime Security in the port authority category.

“Through hard work and innovation, The Port of New York and New Jersey is safer and more secure, and through their willingness to share lessons with others they have helped to ensure the safety and security of the entire Nation,” said Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger who presented the award.

Among many initiatives, the port authority was recognized for their work in leading the area maritime security committee effort in the development and implementation of a port-wide risk management plan. This plan focused on heightened collaboration, particularly in interagency communications, maritime domain awareness, waterborne risks, resiliency and intelligence sharing.

The Port Authority also increased information sharing on an international level through an initiative to exchange ideas and enrich relationships with foreign ports on security and emergency management issues; some of these relationships have matured into formal sister port agreements.

“The Bennis award recognizes organizations that have embedded innovation in their culture,” said the Vice Commandant. “And tied into that culture is a willingness to partner with others and share best practices.”

The Vice Commandant also honored a key leader in making the ports more secure, Bethann Rooney, who received the Distinguished Public Service Award for her leadership role at the local, state and national level.

“The maritime community of New York, and indeed the Nation as a whole, is more secure, resilient and prepared thanks to Bethann’s selfless and patriotic service,” said the Vice Commandant. “As an integral member of the maritime community, she assisted the Coast Guard in writing key maritime governance documents that helped to set the standards for port security across the nation.”

Rooney has testified repeatedly before Congress and has been a leader of two area maritime security committees and a key member of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee. Her expertise in port recovery issues and initiatives was seen firsthand following the monumental task of port recovery efforts in The Port of New York and New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy.

As the Coast Guard seeks to ensure a resilient marine transportation system, they are joined by leaders in the maritime community like Rooney and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Working together, through close collaboration, our nation’s maritime gateways can remain safe, secure and open for business.

Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger presents the Distinguished Public Service Award to Bethann Rooney at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York Oct. 8, 2014.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger presents the Distinguished Public Service Award to Bethann Rooney at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York Oct. 8, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

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