Puerto Cortes, the largest and deepest port in Central America located on Honduras’ Caribbean coast, is the only port in the Western Hemisphere and one of only three in the world currently scanning all inbound and outbound shipments for nuclear substances, offering considerable advantages for foreign investors, the Honduras non-profit private investment promotion agency FIDE said.
“Puerto Cortes leads the way in port container security,” Vilma Sierra, FIDE executive president, said. “Honduras is roughly four years ahead of the U.S. congressionally mandated July 2012 deadline requiring 100 percent of all U.S.-bound containers to be scanned before entry, established by the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE) of 2006.” Puerto Cortes ranks 29th in the world in volume of shipments to the United States and is also a partner in the U.S. Government’s Container Security (CSI), Megaports, and Secure Freight (SFI) Initiatives.
Puerto Cortes has adopted a fast and efficient container-scanning system that involves three processes and takes only 48 seconds to completely examine each container. First, a Radiation Portal Monitor (RPM) screens the container for any radiation; then, Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) equipment provides imaging of the container’s interior using Gamma-Ray technology. Finally, if radiation is detected, Radiation Isotope Identification Devices (RIIDs) are used to identify the source.
Both U.S. and Honduran customs officials scan each container at the port, while a real-time image is viewed by DHS officers in the United States, accounting for the safety of every shipment. Puerto Cortes’ comprehensive scanning program is part a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pilot program conducted by DHS at foreign ports.
“In addition to the business advantages of Puerto Cortes, a new Logistics Corridor, now under construction, will link Puerto Cortes to the Pacific and Puerto Cutuco in El Salvador,” Ms. Sierra said. “This dedicated highway channel will complement the movement of freight now shipped mainly through the Panama Canal.”
“When it comes to rapid and efficient movement of shipments to the U.S. market, two days away by ship and two hours away by plane, Honduras is leading the way among other Western Hemisphere countries,” the FIDE executive said.