Ports of entry (airports, seaports) and border crossings are vulnerable points in the transportation network where heightened security is essential. This has led the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to inspect all cargo traveling on passenger planes and use a risk-based screening process for inspecting commodities moving on air cargo carriers. Similar considerations are in effect at U.S. seaports, where more than nine million marine containers arrive each year (CRS, 2005). Here, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection analyzes cargo and utilizes other information to target specific shipments for closer inspection. However, tests of the screening system have demonstrated that existing devices have been unable to consistently detect containers carrying dangerous goods (Bolvi, 2008; Cochran, 2008), suggesting that an even tighter screen protocol is required. While the need to impose strict security measures at points of entry is not disputed, these practices can have a detrimental effect on freight mobility.
Port and border security delays are known to impede operational efficiency by causing congestion and cost increases (AASHTO, 2007). With the forecasted increases in international goods movement, demands on security screening are also expected to grow. This will likely increase the size of the bottleneck problem experienced at the points of entry unless a suitable solution is found. Performance measures and metrics are essential for effectively managing logistics operations, particularly in a competitive global economy. The global economy is featured with global operations, outsourcing and supply chain and e-commerce. The real challenge for managers of this new enterprise environment is to develop suitable performance measures and metrics to make right decisions that would contribute to an improved organizational competitiveness.
Now the question is whether traditional performance measures can be used and out of them which ones should be given priority for measuring the performance in a new enterprise environment. Some of the traditional measures and metrics may not be suitable for the new environment wherein many activities are not easily identifiable. Measuring intangibles and nonfinancial performance measures pose the greater challenge in the so-called knowledge economy. Nevertheless, measuring them is so critical for the successful operations of companies in this environment.