Ocean cargo container security ranks as the top concern among executives responsible for supply chain operations at the largest global import and export companies, according to research firm A.T. Kearney and conducted in collaboration with the Inter-national Cargo Security Council.

Executives interviewed for the report believe that new technology solutions, such as radio frequency identification or RFID-enabled “smart boxes,” could enhance container security as well as improve container visibility throughout the supply chain. Some security executives feel that a weapon of mass destruction smuggled into the U.S. in a cargo container could happen. More often the concern is escalating cargo theft as well as attention to making the supply chain more efficient.

The Illinois International Port District is using Siemens and VistaScape’s SiteIQ technology to protect the facility and monitor cargo.

Cargo container impact

The Kearney study pointed out that container shipments account for 90 percent of world trade, are growing at a 5 percent compound annual rate and an average of about 14 containers come into U.S. ports every minute. Today, about 95 percent of these containers are not inspected for weapons of mass destruction or other types of security threats.

Beyond RFID, there are other cargo security strategies.

For example, Rainbow CCTV (Irvine, Calif.) security zoom lenses with auto iris are used extensively by Odyssey Automotive Specialty, one of the country’s leading niche vehicle suppliers. New Jersey-based Odyssey supplies a range of vehicles from SUV and sedan response units to rescue and utility vehicles for the emergency services, box trucks and cargo vans.

TransCore of Harrisburg, Pa., specializes in trailer tracking sensors, including a first-of-its-kind infrared cargo sensor and temperature sensor, now has integrated the technology into its GlobalWave satellite communications products. The system allows users to monitor, manage, track and communicate with remote and mobile assets from a Web interface.

Another company, Avery Dennison of Pasadena, Calif., follows Kearney’s advice with tamper-evident RFID tags on cargo and containers. In conjunction with RF Code, the two firms market Secure Strap security monitoring and electronic seal technology. The new product leverages RF Code’s TAVIS data management platform, active RFID technology and Avery Dennison’s tamper sensor.

New tamper-evident RFID tags can monitor, track and locate containers and other physical assets.

Tamper and RFID

The Secure Strap tags contain electronic seal technology for tamper monitoring, tracking and locating of containers and other physical assets. Secure Strap consists of a radio lock (an active RFID real-time locating device) that is attached to a fiber-optic tamper sensor cable. If the cable is compromised in any manner, Secure Strap will send out a radio distress signal indicating its identification code and a tamper indication signal. An encrypted reset key will allow reuse of the radio lock component of the Secure Strap system.

The Illinois International Port District has selected Siemens Building Technologies of Buffalo Grove, Ill., to provide perimeter surveillance security improvements to its Iroquois Landing and Calumet Harbor facilities. Siemens will manage the design and construction of an automated wide-area perimeter surveillance system that can combine data from multiple security systems and sensors – such as video cameras and intrusion detection devices – and show it in one situational display.

The sophisticated system provides security operators with a bird’s-eye view of the entire port facility on a three-dimensional map in real time.

For More Information

Check these sources – the International Cargo Security Council at www.icsc.org; Rainbow CCTV at www.rainbowcctv.com; TransCore and its commercial vehicle tracking at www.transcore.com; Avery Dennison at www.averydennison.com; and Siemens Building Technologies at www.sbt.siemens.com. Also check out the LINX search, powered by Google, on the Security magazine Web site at www.securitymagazine.com for articles on port, cargo and supply chain security.