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Port Security Operations Conference and Expo (PSOCE) opens next week at Port Canaveral, FL

Next Tuesday, port executives, government leaders and other key stakeholders will meet at Port Canaveral, FL, to discuss the threat of nuclear materials in ship cargo containers and other pressing port security issues at the 2015 Port Security Conference & Expo. About 150 leaders are expected to attend the three-day conference.

The event is organized by Canadian-based engineering, consulting and safety training firm MacDonnell Group Ltd., which will hold other port security conferences in Canada and Long Beach, CA.

The sessions dealing with nuclear material detection will take place Wednesday afternoon. Federal law passed nine years ago called for all cargo to be screened. That was supposed to start in 2012, but the U.S Department of Homeland Security has delayed implementation of that portion of the law.

Ralston MacDonnell, president of the MacDonnell Group, said the issues surrounding nuclear detection don’t just affect port operators and the government, they also affect shipping companies and others who rely on the port system, including rail and trucking companies that handle the cargo on a daily basis.

With the number of stakeholders involved, it leads to a wide array of opinions on the matter. That includes how the cargo is scanned and who pays for it. Federal governments have been responsible for this, but MacDonnell said other alternatives are being considered that could cause other stakeholders to contribute. That’s why it’s important to discuss nuclear detection at this time, he said.

“One of the things we’re doing here us bringing in some of the key players from the regulator to the conference so people -- the industry associations, everybody -- can express their views and find out where really some of these issues stand,” MacDonnell said.

The scheduled speakers are:

  • Georgia Adams, a nuclear detection and interdiction specialist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Detection and Deterrence Program;
  • Todd Pardue, a principal deputy assistant director with Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office;
  • Carl Jaigobind, branch chief for Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Non-Intrusive Inspection Division;
  • Tim Gregoire, technology director for Rapiscan, which develops radiation monitors for cargo containers;
  • John Gonsky, vice president of nuclear and energy department programs for Tetra Tech, which works with more than 20 countries on their nuclear detection systems; and
  • Todd Davis, a technology director with Schneider Electric, which implements and integrates the communications systems port officials use to detect radioactive materials.

The panels will include discussions of how ports from across the world, including the Middle East, deal with nuclear detection. The panelists will not only discuss how to prevent such materials from coming into the ports but also discuss what technologies are currently being used or developed to identify these hazards.

Other sessions during the conference will examine such issues as cyber security and other security technologies. In addition, representatives from the federal Port Security Grant Program will have be on hand to discuss the latest round of funding. About $100 million will be available to ports this year, with applications expected to be due in May.

The conference also includes a tour of the new cruise terminal at Port Canaveral, one of the busiest cruise ports in the country. In addition, 20 exhibitors also will be on hand during the event.

“It’s meant to be a learning opportunity for the professionals who are involved in this area,” MacDonnell said. “And they see it that way. The come to exchange best practices.”

For more information, visit the www.PSOCE.com Web site or call (902) 425-3980.


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