Maritime Transportation Security act (MTSA)

TWIC Reader Requirements

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) published the TWIC – Reader Requirements; Delay of Effective Date (TWIC Reader Delay Notice) in the Federal Register on March 9, 2020. With its publication, the USCG is delaying the effective date of the TWIC Reader Rule for three (3) years (i.e., until May 8, 2023) for the following facility categories:
  1. Facilities that handle Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) in bulk, and transfer the CDCs to or from a vessel (i.e., “transfer” facilities);
  2. Facilities that handle CDC in bulk in areas of the facility where a TWIC is required, but do not transfer the CDCs to or from a vessel (i.e., “non-transfer” facilities); and
  3. Facilities that receive vessels carrying CDC in bulk, but do not, during the vessel-to-facility interface, transfer the CDCs to or from those vessels (i.e., “CDC vessel” facilities).
While the delay provides facilities time to comply with the TWIC Reader Rule requirements, the USCG has taken a broad stance regarding the scope of facilities affected by the regulation: facilities that “handle” bulk CDCs in TWIC-required areas – whether by vessel, rail, truck, or tank storage – are considered “Risk Group A” facilities subject to TWIC reader requirements. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also use this “…time to further analyze the results of the Congressionally-mandated TWIC program assessment and continue the [USCG’s] study of CDC risk.”
For most facilities, the best course of action continues to be limiting the economic and operational impact of the TWIC Reader Rule by reducing the locations at the facility where biometric verification is required, where possible. This approach, as repeatedly suggested by the USCG itself, has been successfully undertaken by many facilities since 2016 and will likely be more appealing now given that the USCG will enforce the regulation broadly across the chemical, petrochemical, terminal, and refining industries.