Ports of LA and Long Beach to launch RFID program

PierPASS Inc. has introduced the TruckTag program, created to enhance security in marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by improving the process of checking trucks and drivers entering the terminals. Under the program, PierPASS will distribute RFID (radio frequency identification) electronic tags to be installed on trucks, similar to the FasTrak and E-ZPass devices used for automated toll collection, enabling quick and secure check-in at the terminals.

Marine terminals are required by the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard to provide security by ensuring that only those with proper business at the ports will be permitted inside. The terminals, working through PierPASS, are launching the TruckTag program as part of their proactive approach to meeting these requirements.

"Improving check-in procedures at the terminals will help protect people who work at the ports and the cargo coming in and out," says Bruce Wargo, president and CEO of PierPASS, a not-for-profit company established by marine terminal operators in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to address multi-terminal issues.

TruckTag is the second program created by PierPASS. In July 2005, PierPASS launched the OffPeak program, aimed at reducing congestion in and around the ports by establishing new night and Saturday shifts at the ports. By December, more than 1 million truck trips had been diverted out of daytime traffic, leading to a noticeable reduction in congestion.

Under the TruckTag program, PierPASS will distribute 10,000 RFID tags to trucking companies, and the trucking companies will be responsible for distributing the tags to their drivers. When a truck arrives at a terminal, the RFID tag will automatically be read by an electronic reader posted at the gate. Simultaneously, the truck driver will insert his commercial driver's license into a machine that will verify that the driver and truck have authorized business at the terminal. Under the current system, each driver displays his commercial driver's license to a security guard upon entry to a terminal.

The marine terminal operators will cover the $1.2 million estimated cost of the program, which is expected to begin by March. There will be no cost to truck drivers or trucking companies for the first 10,000 tags.

The active RFID tags, provided by WhereNet Corp., will be distributed through eModal, a database company that tracks trucking companies and drivers. Ninety-nine percent of the trucking companies and drivers working in the ports are already registered with eModal.




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