A large number of America’s export and import goods enter and exit the country through the maritime ports. Trucks have a big part to play in the process, as they are the sole transporting units responsible for dropping and shipping the goods in and out of the country. Despite their importance, a trucker’s access to the port is not easy.
Truck drivers have to go through strict security measures before they can enter the ports. Truckers require a TWIC card (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) to ensure to have smooth access into the docks. The TSA security mandates each truck driver to possess this card if they wish to proceed with their freight transport.
Understanding the TWIC Card
You may be asking, what is a TWIC card for CDL drivers? To answer your question, a TWIC card grants authorized individuals permission to enter into confidential areas. With this card in possession, a trucker can provide the TSA (transportation security administration) with a means of security evaluation.
If a truck driver does not have a TWIC card, they have to pay an authorized escort to get access to the maritime ports. An escort is present with the trucker at all times for security concerns if they do not have a TWIC card.
Thus, A TWIC allows truck drivers to have easy, escort-free access in the maritime port. Once you get the card, you are no longer under security suspicion when you enter the maritime port facility. It is similar to any government-authorized license, except it gives you the legal right to access the ports. Investing in a TWIC card is great for a company that does frequent business with a particular port facility.
What is a TWIC Card for Truck Drivers?
For truck drivers, a TWIC card represents their identity and allows them access to the restricted and sensitive areas within the port. This unrestricted access of the truck drivers gives them the liberty to load and unload the freight and carry out on-duty activities without obstruction. In other words, it makes their job easier.
With a TWIC card, truckers get access to ports, boats, shelf facilities, and other areas. Applying for a TWIC card means that a truck driver desires to save the company’s time and money when entering into the port facilities. They are resoundingly helpful if a truck driver’s work includes access to restricted areas regularly.
Read Also: Why is Truck Driving an Essential Position in The US?
How to Get a TWIC Card?
A truck driver normally applies for a TWIC card online. You can apply for it through either the TWIC application or the TWIC website. You can go through the application process using two methods.
- Application- You involve you filling the application online or at the TWIC application center.
- In-person Appointment- To set up an appointment for the TWIC card, you have to access their website look for an appointment schedule. Booking an appointment beforehand saves you time. You can also get the card through a walk-in-interview.
During both appointments, you have to bring forth all the required documentation to prove your American citizenship and law-abiding consent. This includes a US passport, birth certificate, and driver’s license. To further provide identification, you will also have to provide your photograph and fingerprints.
The Eligibility Requirements and Cost of Attaining a TWIC Card
Truck drivers need the TWIC cards to service customers with the help of port affiliations. Therefore, the ones that meet the requirements are willing to pay the standard fees to acquire a TWIC card. The requirements to pass the eligibility criteria of a TWIC card are simple. You must firstly be a US citizen; this also applies to eligible immigrants.
Secondly, you must have a lawful presence; this means that you must not have any past criminal history in the United States. If you were a convict of any crime, then you do not qualify for a TWIC card. These cards cost 125 dollars. However, applications that have HME, FAST, MMD, or MML cards can save costs. If you have any of these cards, the fee will be 105 dollars.
A TWIC card is valid for five years, and you can use it at any port in the country. Furthermore, your cost will keep on adding up if you decide not to get a TWIC card. This is because escorts will charge you prices that range up to 50 dollars for the first two hours and 25 dollars every hour after that.
TWIC card Renewal Process
The process to renew your TWIC card follows the same protocol as the renewal processes of other cards. It is the same steps that you take to make a new TWIC card. You have to schedule an appointment online or head over to the application center as a walk-in applicant. You will have to go through a renewal every five years of using a TWIC card.
Who Uses TWIC Cards?
Now that you know about TWIC card for truck drivers, you should know that is not only useful to the truck driving profession but also great for other occupants. It typically applies to the professionals that work in or around the maritime port facility.
Below are Individuals who most commonly hold the TWIC card as an essential prerequisite of their job.
Coast Guard employees are personnel who look after the port and conduct rescue missions on the sea. Their access inside the maritime port facility is vital for the safety of the employees working inside the port.
Therefore, Coast Guard needs to have the TWIC guards so they can easily access and look over the cargo, ships, sailors, and the citizens of the USA. Furthermore, they act as first-hand responders in case anything goes wrong in the port.
Long Shore Workers
Longshore workers have tireless jobs. They spend most of their days loading and unloading cargo and docking ships. Their work involves them using heavy machinery and inspecting the incoming and outgoing cargo.
Hence, they have an important role in the maritime ports, often handling forklifts and trucks to assemble and sort the heavy cargo. Their thankless and gruesome job is usually highly paid. Due to their crucial presence inside the ports, they must be equipped with the TWIC card.
Longshore workers have work that involves them being present in the restricted areas of the port. This is why they need the TWIC card more than anyone else does. Their work requires them to be a part of the docking, loading, and unloading process at all times.
Port Facility Employees
This involves everyone that works inside the port’s facilities. The Port involves office spaces and workstations that many professionals occupy on a daily. Therefore, all of the individuals must have TWIC cards in their possession.
Cruise Ship Personnel
Some cruise ship employees also require TWIC cards so that they can access the restricted areas on cruise ships. TWIC cards also become useful when crossing international waters. Foreign land authorities require some form of identification before they can let you enter.
If you are still wondering what is a TWIC card. It is the “okay” you get from the TSA to enter into the port and carry out your duties without extra supervision. Getting your TWIC card can be instrumental for the success of a cargo shipping company.