ROTTERDAM and WASHINGTON DC - Initial results of Smart and Secure Tradelanes, the global initiative to improve cargo container security and efficiency, demonstrate that its baseline automated network can dramatically improve the ability to track, locate and detect the integrity of intermodal shipments in real-time, thereby creating greater levels of security, efficiency, information accuracy and collaboration.
Based on proven automatic identification technologies and software used for nearly a decade to track military supplies worldwide in real-time, SST now has established an open and flexible network infrastructure for commercial use at 15 major ports worldwide and has deployed sensor-related systems to track nearly 1,000 smart containers shipped from Asia and Europe into the United States. SST partners noted these and other milestones recently at its first International Port Security Symposium, which included a press conference and live demonstration for the European port community at the Port of Rotterdam's ECT Delta Terminal, which is operated by Hutchison Port Holdings, an SST partner and the world's largest port operator.
SST also announced that with the successful completion of the network infrastructure in Phase 1, the partnership of more than 65 companies now is shifting into its second phase with the objectives of adding 20 tradelanes, developing fully sensor-equipped "smart containers", and increasing the volume of SST-related containers to over 5,000. SST also is extending the development of smart containers, ranging from the placement of intrusion-detection systems on existing containers to embedding sensors into the containers at the time they are manufactured.
In addition, Phase 2 will build onto the platform more layers of security, including a grid of sensor technologies for detecting environmental changes inside containers, automated surveillance cameras, biometric identification, and satellite tracking for in-transit visibility. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also recently announced it will partner with SST to help it define and develop criteria for cargo container security standards.
The SST process enables identification of personnel, cargo, and transportation information about the container and its contents at the point of origin. Then, SST provides real-time supply chain security and management information to partners involved in the end-to-end shipment of cargo containers by uniquely integrating data from Active-RFID tags combined with intrusion detection sensors that are attached to intermodal containers, stationary and mobile readers that capture the data at key nodes, and Site Managers that process and transmit critical event-driven information to a robust software application called the Transportation Security System. As a result, users can monitor the location, status and security of these containers in real-time by their web-enabled computers, cell phones or other Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).
Phase 1 findings of the initial network, which were analyzed under the guidance of Dr. Hau Lee, the Thoma Professor at Stanford University and founder of the Stanford Global Supply Chain Forum, show that:
-- The network's baseline infrastructure has met its initial objectives for end-to-end tracking the location and security status of specific containers and their contents in real-time.
-- Key supply chain and security events and exceptions, such as container tamperings, business processes such as container violations, misroutes, and delays, are being reported accurately throughout the information network in real-time.
-- Valuable chain-of-custody audit trails of the containers' history are generated, which provide useful profiles and forensics to improve the efficiency of the supply chain, its processes and structure.
-- This system and processes integrate and augment existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)-based information systems.
-- Significantly, tests in Asian ports found that the SST network meets and has the capacity to go beyond U.S. Customs requirements for its 24-Hour Manifest Rule, which requires manifests to be reported a full day before departure. The SST network provided manifests 24 hours before departure 100 percent of the time and 72 hours before departure 80 percent of the time.
A final and more complete report of the first phase will be completed in the third quarter of this year. This report will include information on the costs and economic benefits each participant in the supply chain can expect as part of an end-to-end intermodal container security network.
"The initial data from Smart and Secure Tradelanes shows that it holds great promise for fundamentally changing and improving the supply chain structure and logistics of managing intermodal cargo containers, which account for more than 90 percent of worldwide trade," said Dr. Lee. "Initially, SST was launched to address security gaps and concerns about terrorists using containers to conceal weapons of mass destruction. SST is proving it can address this important concern, but it's also proving that its automated information network can provide valuable benefits to many of the supply chain's long-time inefficiencies."
"SST's growth and impact on the international port community have been remarkable since it started as a concept just last summer, and its momentum continues to accelerate," said Sam Banks, former Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and a founding member of the Strategic Council on Security Technology, a global advisory resource that helped to launch SST. "SST's ability to automate information and integrate with Customs electronic information systems means that it can be a valuable means for complying with the 24-Hour Manifest Rule, and other Customs programs."
"We have equipped our container operations with SST infrastructure at the Ports of Hong Kong, Seattle, Rotterdam and Felixstowe, and eventually all of our operations at 31 ports will become part of the network" said Gary Gilbert, Chief Security Officer for HPH. Moving more than 36 million containers in 2002, HPH port operations manage 30 percent of the world's container trade and 50 percent of containers entering U.S. ports.
At the press conference, Jan Gelderland, managing director of HPH's ECT facilities at the Port of Rotterdam, said that an increasing number of major shippers are participating by having their products placed in "Smart and Secure" containers at their manufacturing plants and tracked in real-time through ECT to ports on the U.S. East Coast. "We think that SST's network will help to make us and our customers even more competitive because of the security and efficiency benefits it provides."Today, more than 65 companies have joined the SST initiative, which is driven by industry and designed to be a holistic approach compatible with government programs to ensure container security. The Strategic Council on Security Technology helped start SST, along with the world's largest port operators, including HPH, P&O Ports, and PSA Corporation, which together manage more than 70 percent of world trade, and solution providers such as Savi Technology, QUALCOMM, Sandler Travis Trade Advisory Services, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Since then, other major port operators, including China Merchants (CMHI), Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) and Marine Terminals Corporation (MTC), as well as major shippers and service providers, have joined. The initial network infrastructure leverages the technology and infrastructure originally developed for the U.S. Department of Defense's Total Asset Visibility network, which is the world's largest Radio Frequency Identification cargo tracking system.
The Strategic Council on Security Technology is an international assembly of top executives from the world's largest port operators, major logistics technology providers, former military logistics leaders, former public officials and prominent transportation consultancies. Acting as an international resource, the Strategic Council on Security Technology is committed to helping ensure greater supply chain security through best-of-breed practices and technologies while working with a variety of other industry associations. More information can be found at www.scst.info