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Deadline is set for rail cargo security

(The Associated Press distributed the following article on April 13.)

WASHINGTON -- Rail shippers on July 12 will have to start sending electronic manifests identifying their cargo before reaching the first stop, the government said on Tuesday.

The rule will help customs officials identify rail shipments that pose a potential terrorist threat. The rule was delayed because the government had to adapt its computer software.

July 12 is the first deadline for rail shippers calling at 24 ports of entry. Those that call at four ports of entry in Maine have until Aug. 10, and those calling at three ports along the Mexican border have until Sept. 9.

Congress ordered the changes last year because of fears that terrorists could smuggle chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons into the country.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

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