Port Hauling and the TWIC Card

A large portion of America’s imported and exported goods move through maritime ports. Whether the cargo is coming or going, it falls on truck drivers to get freight where it needs to go. However, ports have very strict security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) won’t let just anyone access American docks, even if that someone has a Rate Confirmation. In order to gain access to ports – and by extension, the freight – truck drivers may want to look into getting a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.

What is a TWIC Card?

A TWIC card is a government identification program designed to give individuals access to secure American maritime facilities and vessels. Truck drivers need these cards if they want to access ports without paying for an authorized escort. If your company does regular business on these ports, investing in TWIC cards for your drivers may be good for your business.

How to Apply

There are 2 parts to the TWIC application process.

  • Application – This can be done online or in person at an application center.

  • In-person Appointment – The TWIC website recommends scheduling an appointment beforehand, but walk-in are also admitted, depending on staff availability. During the appointment, applicants are required to provide specific documentation, submit to fingerprinting, and consent to a facial photograph. The applicant will also pay for the TWIC card at this time. TWIC cards are currently $125.25 for new applicants.

Due to the vigorous background checks performed on a TWIC application, receiving your TWIC card can take up to 12 weeks. Make sure you apply well before it’s actually needed. Once you have your card, you will not need to renew it for 5 years.

TWIC cards are a good investment if you do a lot of business at maritime ports. The card saves your business time and money since you won’t need an authorized escort each time you haul to or from the port.  Sometimes brokers will let you negotiate the escort fee into the load price, but this isn’t always the case. It’s better to be safe than sorry and apply for the TWIC.