Port Of Brownsville goes "Hollywood"

The Port of Brownsville transformed itself into a movie set complete with a production team and actors, in order to shoot an $18,000 dollar movie highlighting the port TMs ongoing efforts to increase security.

The funds for production come from the $17 million in grant money awarded to the port since 2007, by the Department of Homeland Security.

Port Spokesman Manuel Ortiz said that Following the 9/11 terroristic attacks, ports across the nation went on lock down.

"Ports are a critical part of the nation's infrastructure and they're a critical part of general global trade and commerce, Ortiz said, that is a reason why security is so important."

The Port of Brownsville ranks third in the nation in the import and export of steel, and nearly 90 percent of the liquid cargo, such as gas, that comes through the port is exported into Mexico.

Any breach of security, officials said, could cause seriously damage the economy on a global scale.

To avoid that, the Port of Brownsville implemented the Transportation Workers Identification Credential program " it was the first port in the nation to do so.

"It's a program that grants access to individuals, after a detailed and lengthy background, check to access secured areas (around the port)."

During the three day filming, actors - many of them port employees - staged scenarios such as a driver running the entry gates of the port without proper identification and an exercise in which a visitor sneaks into a restricted area.

The finished product, officials said, will be used for educational security videos.

Ortiz said it TMs a worthwhile production to help secure the port which is a multimillion dollar economic engine for the U.S. and other countries.

"2011 was one of the strongest years that the Port of Brownsville has had in the past 10 years, Ortiz said. In terms of tonnage and in revenue, for example, we moved more than six million metric tons here at the port. We had a very strong year and that's significant given that it was a down economic year."