Cargo Handling Cooperative Validates Performance of Lower Frequency Electronic Cargo Security Seals

Jan. 1, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three pioneers of RFID-enabled solutions for cargo container security - Hi-G-Tek, E. J. Brooks, and Savi Technology - emphasized that

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three pioneers of RFID-enabled solutions for cargo container security - Hi-G-Tek, E. J. Brooks, and Savi Technology - emphasized that recent tests of their products by the Container Handling Cooperative Program (CHCP) were a significant step in efforts to promote industry understanding of electronic seals and the operational environment. CHCP demonstrated that lower radio frequency bands (UHF) outperformed higher frequencies for automatically identifying the location and security breaches of containers in real-world supply chain environments.

The three companies were part of the CHCP's independent six-month study. The CHCP is a public-private partnership organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) and industry members from transportation companies, terminal operators, port authorities, analysts, and technology providers.

The project evaluated the maturity of electronic security seals developed by a number of companies. This study tested the performance of different electronic seals in operational environments such as railheads and intermodal entry and exit gates. The lower frequency band (UHF, 433.92MHz) used in three separate products outperformed the product using a higher frequency (2.45GHz).

The lower frequency seals demonstrated a significantly stronger signal strength and capability to propagate or transmit data around metal objects, such as cargo containers, to fixed readers that automatically capture the wireless alerts. The higher frequency seals were limited to more line-of-sight transmission, which reduces the flexibility and dependability of the system in marine terminal environments. Because of this better performance, Hi-G-Tek, E.J. Brooks and Savi are focused on 433MHz as the frequency of choice for future products.

The three companies added that they were disappointed that particular details validating the greater reliability, signal strength, distance and propagation of coverage of 433.92MHz in the 201-page report, specifically Annex B, pages 23-40, were not reflected in the final report's Executive Summary.

The three companies today also publicly commended CHCP for initiating the project and they support findings in CHCP's report, which was released Jan. 7, that international technical and procedural standards must be developed to help spur more widespread adoption of E-Seal technology.

"We commend the CHCP efforts to promote further industry understanding of electronic seals in an operational environment," said Fraser Jennings, Vice President of Standards and Regulatory Activities for Savi Technology. "The 433.92MHz band has become the de facto standard for the U.S. Department of Defense, including for tracking assets in last year's Iraqi war, and it has also been successfully deployed in the global Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative. We're gratified that CHCP's tests further validate this frequency band for its signal strength and accuracy, especially in heavy-metal operational environments at ports, rail heads and entry-exit gates."

"The CHCP report is another important step in standardizing best-of-breed E-Seal technologies," said Scott Kirk, Executive Vice President for E.J. Brooks, an SST partner and leading security system provider for the intermodal industry. "The International Standardization Organization (ISO) already has demonstrated support for developing an international standard through its signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the SST initiative and increased emphasis on the efforts being done through their Technical Committee -104, Freight Containers. Many of the players in the international arena are working aggressively towards establishing new standards."

"We're optimistic that tests such as CHCP's and other ongoing activities are all helping to shape standards that will lead to wider adoption of E-Seals worldwide," said Micha Auerbach, President and CEO of Hi-G-Tek, an Israeli-based provider of RFID tags and seals for various management and security applications. "Savi, Hi-G-Tek and E.J. Brooks will continue to work closely with a number of international standards organizations to ensure that the best proven practices and frequencies are utilized on a wide scale across transportation modes and international borders."

E-Seals, which are affixed in various ways to the doors of cargo containers, are computer microchips with radio antennas that can transmit data automatically over radio frequencies to reader networks. When the seal is tampered with, it automatically reports that information, along with its own identity and location, to a reader that relays it to authorities. The relays can occur in different ways, including to web-based software, cell phones or other PDA devices. The CHCP study found that the technology is maturing and that it is critical to allow for growth.

Founded in 1873, E.J. Brooks Company is a leading manufacturer of tamper indicating security seals, locking devices and metering-related products through its Security Products Group. Visit Brooks and subsidiaries online at

With over 14 years of global logistics infrastructure experience, Savi is a proven leader in real-time supply chain asset management and security. For additional information, visit .

Founded in 1989, Hi-G-Tek offers rich and diverse experience in the fields of microelectronics and wireless remote monitoring technologies. For more information about Hi-G-Tek Ltd. please visit .