Everything You Need to Know About TWIC Cards

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 measures when you are trying to drop off a load or pick up. 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 – truckers may want to look into getting a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.

What is a TWIC Card for Truck Drivers?

A TWIC card is means of security threat assessment for authorized individuals to gain access to sensitive areas. The TWIC program gets you a government identification similar to a driver’s license but with this program designed to give individuals access to secure facilities within the United States such as maritime facilities and vessels. CDL drivers need these TWIC 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 trucking company drivers may be good for your business.

Benefits of Having a TWIC Card

A TWIC card is a federal identification card for Transportation Workers that gets administered to those who need unrestricted access to areas included in the maritime transportation security act, including ports, port facilities, boats, and continental shelf facilities. You are even able to get a hazardous materials endorsement also known as a hazmat endorsement added to fit your needs.

TWIC cards are a good investment if you do a lot of business at these types of restricted locations. The TWIC 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 card.

How to Get a TWIC Card

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-ins are also admitted, depending on staff availability. During the appointment, applicants are required to provide specific documentation (such as your u.s. passport or driver license or birth certificate), submit to fingerprinting, and consent to a facial photograph.

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.

The Cost of a TWIC Card

The cost associated with a TWIC card is not exactly cheap, but when looked at as a business expense and the benefits of having one vs not having on in your business it can be a minor expense in comparison. You can always find the most up to date pricing through the TSA website at https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/twic. To break down the current pricing though, the new application fee is $125.25. If you qualify, you may be able to obtain the new applicant reduced rate of $105.25. The other expense that you may run into is if you happen to lose your card then you have to deal with the replacement cost of $60.

How to Renew your TWIC Card

The good news for renewing your TWIC card compared to some other services that you may run it with big drawn-out processes, the same process is followed to renew as you followed to apply as a new applicant.

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 card (Transportation Worker Identification Credential).

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