Port security in the Port of Liege

Ports often play a key role in goods transport operations and/or are located near to urban centres. Originating with the air strikes on the " Twin Towers " in New-York, on 11 September 2001, the " International Ship & Port Facility Security Code " (ISPS) code seeks to prevent attacks using a vessel as a potential weapon of mass destruction, with all the serious implications that has for the transport system and the local community.

Anxious to protect itself against this rise in terrorism, Europe has also adopted several tough laws:

1. Protecting port facilities (Regulation (EC) N° 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on enhancing ship and port facility security)

This European Regulation applies to any sea-going ship of more than 500 gross tonnage undertaking an international voyage.

Two Liege companies enjoy this international ISPS certification:

They are:
  • AUSA (with a base in Port of Monsin – Northern dock)
  • SOMEF (also operating in Port of Monsin - Covered dock).
These companies are allowed to load and unload sea-going vessels subject to security levels 1 (normal risk) and 2 (heightened risk).

2. Protecting the entire port area (Directive 2005/65/EC of 26/10/2005)

The main purpose of the Directive is to introduce a security system in all port areas. With a view to realising this objective, the Directive is aimed at establishing a Community framework to guarantee a high and comparable level of security in all European ports.

The Liege Local Port Security Committee (comprising representatives of the federal and local police services, the Federal Intelligence and Security Agency, the Customs and Excise authorities, the Walloon Region and the Liege Port Authority ) has confined the area potentially under threat to port concessions that regularly receive sea-going vessels.

This Local Committee reports to a Federal Port Security Committee, which acts as the national authority and as an international transmission window.

3. Protecting the entire transport chain

The AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) certification is delivered by customs. Several port handlers have received such an accreditation.