CAIRO, EGYPT --Smart and Secure Tradelanes (SST), the global automated ocean container management and security initiative, today announced a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to launch a project in South Africa, which adds a vital link on a fifth continent to SST's real-time visibility network. This project adds another critical seaport that will participate in SST's growing network, which already includes six of the world's 10 largest port facilities and a total of 16 ports throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.
The USTDA announcement comes as the second phase of SST is gathering momentum. SST Phase 2 is aimed at extending the network's global footprint, increasing shipper participants and incorporating a range of automatic identification technologies - including anti-intrusion sensor devices and satellite (IMMARSAT) tracking systems- to its existing backbone of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies and networked software. Since completion of SST Phase 1 about six months ago, SST has had 72 company participants, including many of the worlds largest port operators, carriers, service providers, and technology companies, along with a growing number of shippers representing a wide variety of industries.
Today's announcement was made jointly by the USTDA (see www.tda.gov) and the Strategic Council on Security Technology (SCST), (www.scst.info), a global resource and catalyst for improving supply chain security and efficiency, during USTDA's "Secure Trade Through New Partnerships and New Technologies" conference here on trade security.
The grant will help fund a project using best practices and advanced technologies to enhance supply chain security and efficiency between seaports in Southern Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Last year, the USTDA helped fund a project, called STAR-Best that deployed similar technologies implemented by the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) in a tradelane between ports in Bangkok and Seattle.
"We're gratified that growing government support for this initiative, which was initially spearheaded by industry, will help extend the global reach of a system that already has proven it improves security and efficiency at the same time," said Gen. John Coburn, (Ret., U.S. Army), and SCST chairman. "SST already is wired up at 15 major seaports on four continents, and this grant will enable the shipping community to be connected to another strategic part of the world that links the tracking of shipments from the Middle East and Asia to Europe and the United States. The result will be a safer and smarter global supply chain."
Coburn emphasized that today's announcements signify the growing momentum of SST Phase 2, in which additional tradelanes and shippers are being added to the network, which is taking advantages of best practices and technologies that transform containers into smart containers.
"Our support for this project underscores the U.S. Government's commitment to work with developing world trading partners to ensure that improved supply chain security facilitates, rather than hinders, global commerce," said USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey. "As we look forward to increased trade stemming from the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and the potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), USTDA is pleased to partner with Smart and Secure Tradelanes (SST), Savi and a variety of African and international partners to build Africa's capacity to take advantage of new opportunities."
This initial investment in the SST project follows similar projects focusing on tradelanes between the United States and major U.S. trading partners in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The project in Southern Africa would be the first effort to apply the same solution to a smaller, but strategic trading partner and reflects the potential for growth in trade as a result of AGOA and the ongoing FTA negotiations with SACU.
In a separate but related press release today, it was announced that Taiwan' s Kaohsiung Harbor, the world's fourth busiest port, announced its participation in SST. SST processes and technology will be installed at Kaohsiung Harbor and the Port of Los Angeles to automate that tradelane for major U.S. importers.
The SST network is built on an open and flexible platform that supports automatic identification technologies that conforms to international standards and can be integrated with other technologies for extra layers of security and visibility. Such technologies may include sensors, automated surveillance cameras, biometric identification, gamma ray image scanners and satellite tracking systems.
Savi Technology, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California, is leading the public-private consortium that will implement the project as part of SST, a largely industry-driven initiative with automated tracking technologies and software in major ports worldwide to enhance the security and efficient flow of container shipments. The company provides real-time visibility solutions for the supply chain by integrating its unique SmartChain software platform and applications with all types of automatic identification technologies, especially Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, such as security sensor devices.
"On behalf of Savi and the other participants in the Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative, we're gratified that USTDA recognizes the value already demonstrated by this initiative in strategic ports worldwide," said Mark Weidick, Savi's Vice President and General Manager of Collaborative Network Services. "South Africa and its neighboring countries represent a strategic commercial location - linking major tradelanes from the Middle and Far East to the West - and this investment will help secure vital shipments while also introducing important new technologies to this growing economic region." The project will determine the applicability of new security-oriented business processes and the deployment of RFID and related transportation security software along both land-based and seagoing trade lanes connecting Walvis Bay, Namibia; Cape Town, South Africa; Great Britain; and the United States. This project will promote African compliance with international transportation security standards and facilitate trade capacity on the continent. Because South Africa is a participant in the U.S. Government's Container Security Initiative, this project will serve to extend transportation security from South African ports further north and throughout Southern Africa.
Various public, private and multilateral partners will participate in the project. They include South African Port Operations, Namport, the World Customs Organization, the Port of New York/New Jersey, and the Port of Tilbury (UK).
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.
The Strategic Council on Security Technology is an international assembly of top executives from the world's largest port operators, major logistics technology providers, military logistics leaders, former public officials and prominent transportation consultancies. For more information on SCST, please visit www.scst.info.