About 90% of EU’s external trade and 40% of internal trade is transported by sea. This corresponds to 3.5 billion tonnes of freight loaded and unloaded in EU ports each year. While individual port security breaches may cause much damage in themselves, the disruption that such security incidents cause to the supply chains can also become very costly. Thus, port security remains of paramount importance for Europe both due to direct threats to life and property as well as the potential for crippling economic damage arising from the effects on the supply chains.
Ports represent significant challenges when implementing new security measures. They cover large areas, they have very complex operations, they service large numbers of passengers and they process large amounts of goods. As well as efficient surveillance and access control, this requires efficient organisational and technological interfaces linking ports to border control authorities, the police and other intervention forces, as well as transport and logistics operators.
Ports also represent the intersection between supply chain security measures (e.g., the USA CTPAT and CSI initiatives and the WCO SAFE Framework) and ship and port facility security measures (e.g., through the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code). A specific challenge for ports is to integrate these types of measures into an integrated security approach.
Considerable progress in port security has been achieved in recent years, e.g., through the implementation of ISPS. SUPPORT is aimed at building on these achievements by engaging representative stakeholders to guide the development of upgraded preventive and remedial security capabilities in European ports. Daily port operations with actual security systems will be analysed and good and bad practices seen in port managing organisations, port authorities, and other stakeholders will be established and "lessons learned" will be used in the SUPPORT solutions.