An Explainer from the Stimson Center has said that the growing global chemical trade and threat of chemical terrorism creates an urgent need for national implementation of transport security measures. It starts by reminding one about the explosion in August 2020 of the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in the Port of Beirut’s waterside Warehouse #12, having been there for 6 years. This, it says, demonstrated the severe and fatal consequences of underdeveloped customs procedures, chemical transport security, and physical protection measures, all of which permitted dangerous chemicals to sit abandoned in storage facilities at the Port for years. But it is far from the only incident in recent years. It is said that there are clear gaps in the standards for securing hazardous chemicals during transport. These gaps include challenges in implementing effective and harmonised security practices on the frontlines, where chemicals move in and out of countries. All UN Member States are required by Security Council Resolution 1540 to implement specific procedures and measures to secure chemicals that pose a proliferation concern. However, only a small number of countries — just 32 in 2019 — have any laws or regulations governing security of chemicals of proliferation concern in general, never mind setting specific standards for chemicals in transit.
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