Posted on June 12, 2003
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that the Memphis and Shelby County Port Commission has been awarded $639,655 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to improve and strengthen port security in the International Port of Memphis. The funding is part of a nationwide program aimed to strengthen port security and related precautionary measures to protect America's ports from possible threats. "Because 95 percent of our nation's international cargo is carried by ship to ports, securing the safety of ports like the International Port of Memphis is a necessary step in protecting our homeland," said Frist. "Our nation must be vigilant in our ability to defend ourselves from possible attacks and this funding will allow Memphis to be part of the critical effort to ensure the safety of cargo coming into this country." "We appreciate this investment by the Department of Homeland Security to protect Tennesseans," Alexander said. "This grant will go along way to strengthen our port security on the Mississippi River." The Port Security Grant Program provides funding for security planning and projects to improve dockside and perimeter security at ports across the nation. The grants will be used to help fund critical security upgrades like new patrol boats in the harbor, surveillance, equipment at roads and bridges, and the construction of new command and control facilities. The announcement represents the second phase of the Container Security Initiative, an existing DHS program to identify, target and search high-risk cargo at home and abroad. The International Port of Memphis is the second largest inland port on the shallow draft portion of the Mississippi River and the fourth largest inland port in the United States.