U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, today was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Award for Maritime and Supply Chain Security during the U.S. Maritime Security Conference at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The conference is the largest maritime security conference in the world. Senator Collins was recognized for her work in authoring the SAFE Port Act that she coauthored with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Also receiving an award was Congressman Peter King, who is the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Senator Collins was in New York to receive the award in front of an audience of about 600 international government and industry leaders of the maritime and shipping community. The award is sponsored by the U.S. Maritime Administration; the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Senator Collins called the award “a tremendous honor.” During her acceptance speech she said, “Coming from a maritime state, I know the importance of the cargo ships that drive our economy. In fact, about 95 percent of our foreign trade enters the United States through seaports, including more than 11 million cargo containers a year. The vulnerabilities of our supply chain are clear. An attack at a port could cause tremendous loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure.”

The SAFE Port Act, which she coauthored and was signed into law, is designed to address the vulnerabilities that our ports and global supply chain face. It also significantly strengthened the Container Security Initiative (CSI) which helps U.S. Customs inspectors at foreign ports identify and inspect high risk containers before heading to the U.S.