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Port Security Challenges Analytical Essay

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Updated: May 30th, 2019

Tackling the issues associated with port security is of high significance for international trade. Beginning from 2001, the reality of the terrorist threat to America’s ports has increased considerably including the risk of the nuclear attack with the so-called “dirty bomb”.

However, terrorism is not the only port security challenge. Illegal human and contraband trafficking, piracy, and cargo security are other major port security risks. In the following paper, the problem of port security and its connections to the international trade will be observed in more details.

The security challenges associated with port security are terrorism, piracy, illegal human and contraband trafficking, and cargo security (Blake, Schwartz, & Schwartz, 2013).

Each of the fields identified has the broad scope and variety of dimensions. With regards to this fact, port security guards face the tremendously difficult operational task that becomes even more complicated owing to the complex structure of ports, complicated system of port authority distribution between the public and private stakeholders, and interference from multiple governmental and private agencies (Blake et al., 2013).

The significance of mega ports to international trade can be hardly underestimated since they are the main processing harbors for over 80 percent of overseas commerce (Blake et al., 2013). In connection to mega ports, the tactics of the weak or confronting an enemy with the low-tech approaches confounds the tactics of the strong or doing the same with the highly technological weapons by means of implementing unexpected solutions (Blake et al., 2013).

Sadly, terrorists have learnt how to implement the tactics of the weak quite effectively, which can be proved by the high number of dangerous occurrences on the maritime transport and in ports committed by them annually (Blake et al., 2013). However, the system of security in mega ports effectively implements to eliminate terrorists’ efforts and thus, the significance of these ports are crucial.

In line with the above-mentioned information, the importance of rethinking asymmetric threats is conditioned by the changes that take place at the global arena (Blake et al., 2013). Terrorists begin to implement the newest and the most unpredictable methods to attack the vulnerable points in the port protection system. The society is left no other choice but to develop to the more complex and sophisticated safety and security systems.

Moreover, the threat of the “dirty bomb” which is the type of fission weapons remains high (Cruise, D’Erman, & Grillot, 2013). Generally speaking, any bomb containing nuclear materials can be referred to as the “dirty bomb”. The relationship of this threat to port security is inevitable because placing such bombs into cargo is not a very complicated task due to the existing security gaps.

The reality of a terrorist nuclear threat to America’s seaports is thus quite high. The situation is getting worse because of the sheer size of cargo being operated in ports on a daily basis and absence of the well-designed system of central authority overseeing the maritime system (Cruise et al., 2013).

In conclusion, the vulnerability of American ports to the terroristic threats continues to be the reason of concern for both the government and commercial institutions engaging in the international trade. With regards to this problem, it is the high time to rethink asymmetric threats and undergo the needed changes both in thinking and implementing the newly developed security strategy in practice.


Blake, P., Schwartz, D., & Schwartz, T. M. (2013). Upgrading NY-NJ Harbor: risks and challenges. International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, 4(3), 266-282.

Cruise, R. J., D’Erman, V. J., & Grillot, S. R. (2013). Protecting Our Ports: Domestic and International Politics of Containerized Freight Security. New York, N.Y.: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

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"Port Security Challenges." IvyPanda, 30 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/port-security-challenges/.

1. IvyPanda. "Port Security Challenges." May 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/port-security-challenges/.


IvyPanda. "Port Security Challenges." May 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/port-security-challenges/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Port Security Challenges." May 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/port-security-challenges/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Port Security Challenges'. 30 May.

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