The Sri Lankan port of Colombo has become the fortieth port to operate under the Container Security Initiative (CSI), an anti-terrorist initiative which targets and pre-screens maritime cargo containers destined for the US.

As part of the Container Security Initiative a small contingent of US customs authorities are stationed in Colombo to aid Sri Lankan customs officials in  pre-screening cargo en route to the US to identify high-risk containers before they are loaded onto cargo vessels. 

Robert Bonner, commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection, said: "Through CSI partnerships we are protecting the trade lanes and the global economy from being exploited and disrupted by terrorists."

CSI began in 2002 to screen sea containers at foreign ports before they reached US soil.

Today, approximately 75 per cent of cargo containers destined to the US originate in or are transhipped from a CSI port.