If an RFID tag screams in the woods…

January 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If an RFID Tag sends an alert of tampering, who do you call? Who responds? Who benefits?

Nine million shipping containers enter the United States every year. And, intermodal shipping container security means many things to many people. Many use the term security, but mean asset visibility. Visibility can mean many things to many people as well, ranging from knowing the status and condition of an asset in pseudo real-time down to visibility only at choke points. Security, in the strict sense of the word, includes visibility, but denotes a process of deterrence and prevention of access. Typical tracking and alerting systems offer little or no physical security as several studies have shown. 1, 2

In the European Union, the EUROWATCH program ( https://secure.eurowatchcentral.com/ ) has been implemented to address this issue. EUROWATCH is a multi-country service that addresses evolving crime against vehicles and freight. It helps drivers and owners contact the appropriate responders when a crime occurs. Coverage extends today to Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, Turkey, South Africa, and parts of the Russian Federation. However, no such entity exists in Eastern Asia, North and South America, or Australia. For a coordinated response, the Department of Homeland Security must consider a similar program domestically and work with foreign programs to create the “interpol” for transportation security. In this case, the question becomes, how long is long enough for the appropriate law enforcement to respond?

For tracking and alerting systems that provide physical security, the decision must be made to balance security and practicality on a product cost basis. The solution must allow enough time for first responders to arrive, but can’t be so expensive as to price the solution out of the market. The solution must also address the decision to camouflage or not to camouflage.

Security systems of all types naturally draw attention to the asset, announcing it is of some great value to someone. As long as containers are made of steel, wireless technologies will require some external manifestation of an antenna. Therefore, the goal of a true container security solution must be first to deter. The solution must first make the asset less attractive as a target by significantly raising the “ante” to access the container. Failing deterrence, the goal must be to prevent unauthorized access. However, ultimately, anyone with the right tools and determination is going to gain access to the container. Therefore, container security products must focus on delaying access in order to allow sufficient time for responders to arrive.

As a reward for this process, the use of physical security systems for containers should have several economic benefits in the reduction of loss and the optimization of precious human resources. Estimates of loss due to shrinkage range from $10 to $50 billion annually in the global supply chain. Much of this loss becomes insurance claims, which are in turn, passed back to the shipper as insurance premiums, and then to the consumer as product costs. Some studies show that as much as 75% of the cost of given good for sale is logistics costs. 3

The time has come for the term container security to be standardized. Security should mean secure from unauthorized access. Visibility is valuable, but security is a must and should provide economic incentives for implementation.

Eric Dobson is CEO and Director of TrakLok Corporation located in Knoxville, Tennessee. TrakLok Corporation has developed and is deploying the GeoLok TM , a combined container lock and tracking device. Delivered as a complete turnkey solution, the GeoLok TM provides security and asset tracking throughout the entire supply chain with road, rail, and marine segments all interacting fluidly throughout the full life-cycle of a container shipment. Using physical security technologies, wireless communications, and sensor networking, the GeoLok TM will provide better security and tracking of high value shipments throughout the world.

In addition to providing better physical security than any other tracking solution on the market, data generated by the GeoLoK TM will be accessible through TrakLog TM. This information can be used in Transportation Management Systems to increase efficiency in shipping and supply chains. The GeoLok TM provides information on idle containers that can put into use, if a shipment is ahead or behind schedule, if a driver has deviated from course or if a shipment needs to be triaged and unloaded quickly. It also can give information on the condition of the shipment itself by communicating with sensors that detect temperature, humidity, light, even spoilage.

TrakLok Corporation, which owns the intellectual property for the GeoLok TM container locking solution, has integrated several wireless technologies to track containers globally, and has developed its own web accessible information-technology based global tracking system. The information provided by the GeoLok TM is accessible through TrakLog TM where users can obtain the location and condition information of a given container from any computer or web enabled device. TrakLog TM alleviates in a holistic fashion problems for companies managing containers in the supply chain including:

* Asset visibility. Where is my leased or owned container now?
* Condition monitoring. How is my container now?
* Security/stop loss. Has my container been tampered with?
* Asset utilization. When can I return my container to duty?
* Predictive maintenance of assets. When is my next required maintenance?

The unique innovation of the TrakLok system will initiate a paradigm shift in how intermodal shipping containers are tracked, monitored, utilized and secured. For more information contact:

Eric Dobson, Ph.D. CEO and Director

2450 E.J. Chapman Drive

Knoxville , TN 37996

(865) 332-1813

http://www.traklok.net

1 Scientific Applications International Corporation (“SAIC”). Cargo Handling Cooperative Program, Agile Port and Terminal Systems Technologies: Container Seal Technologies and Processes. Prepared under contract for the Maritime Administration (“MARAD”). July 11, 2003.

2 Homeland Security Research Corporation, Maritime Smart Containers Market Report 2004-2012 , 2004, p. 312.

3 IDTechEx, LTD, Active RFID 2066 – 2016 , 2005, p. 314.

Expansion of Trans-Asian Railway Network Brings New Cargo Security Issues

January 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Across Asia, new transportation infrastructures are being created as well as existing ones receiving upgrades. In attempts to expand trade across the continent as well as strengthening transportation networks connecting Europe, many infrastructure projects have been undertaken throughout the region. A perceived benefit of these new transportation networks is increased cargo security.

One such project is expansions and improvements to the Trans-Asian Railway Network which connects Asia and Europe. The countries linked by this network are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, China, South Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikstan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. There are three main corridors with numerous spur networks. The Northern Corridor connects Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and South Korea.

The Southern Corridor connects Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. Yet gaps in the rail network exist in Myanmar, Cambodia, and between Thailand and China. In June, eight countries agreed to build the rail network connecting China and Southeast Asia running from Kunming to Singapore. This would help close the gaps in Cambodia where Barry Cable, transport director of UNESCAP says, that easing the strain on Cambodia’s roads would not only boost economic development but also reduce energy consumption and improve cargo security. Improvements in rail links between Lhasa, Tibet and Kolkata, India have also been suggested. Within India, construction of two new freight corridors is already under progress with the help of World Bank and Japan and a new railway line of 3,200 km is being laid.

The North-South Corridor will link Northern Europe to the Persian Gulf starting in Finland traveling through Russia to the Caspian Sea, where it splits into three routes: the western route traversing Azerbaijan, Armenia to western Iran; the central route uses ferries to transport cargo across the Caspian Sea to Iran; and the eastern route running through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to eastern Iran. A spur off the eastern route is being constructed from Uzbekistan into Afghanistan. The seventy-five kilometers of single track line being laid will connect Mazar-i-Sharif with the existing rail-connected freight terminal at Hayratan on the Afghan side of the Uzbek border. The line will be suitable for carrying double stack container traffic.

One of the biggest issues with the Trans-Asian Railway Network is there are four different major rail gages. This results in containers having to be moved from train to train creating a change of custody. Anytime there is a change in custody, between modes of transportation or along the same mode, there is a security gap. Whenever containers are being transferred, especially if they end up in a holding area, they are vulnerable. A similar situation exists when cargoes are being transferred to ocean carriers that connect the Trans-Asian Railway Network to South Korea and Japan. Unfortunately, with the exception of Finland, Estonia, Mongolia, China and South Korea, Freight Watch International reports the cargo theft threat to be elevated to severe. Cargo theft is seen to be especially severe in Belarus, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Many believe that because more cargo will be transported by rail rather than over the road it will decrease the theft threat. Yet cargo theft along rail lines will most likely increase as criminals adjust to the new mode of transportation.

While there are several companies now offering cargo security in the form cargo tracking systems, most lack a physical security component. There is one exception to this dilemma in a solution provided by the TrakLok Corporation. Its GeoLok locking and tracking solution provides physical security preventing access to the container while tracking the shipment in real-time anywhere on the planet.

By employing TrakLok’s patented technology in a multi-layered security approach, cargoes can be better protected against smuggling than ever before. GeoLokTM is unlike any other cargo security technology in providing both physical security and real-time monitoring. Quite simply it is the best security solution on the market for containerized cargo.

In addition to providing better physical security than any other tracking solution on the market, data generated by the GeoLoKTM will be accessible through TrakLogTM. This information can be used in Transportation Management Systems to increase efficiency in shipping and supply chains. The GeoLokTM provides information on idle containers that can put into use, if a shipment is ahead or behind schedule, if a driver has deviated from course or if a shipment needs to be triaged and unloaded quickly. It also can give information on the condition of the shipment itself by communicating with sensors that detect temperature, humidity, light, even spoilage.

TrakLok Corporation, which owns the intellectual property for the GeoLokTM container locking solution, has integrated several wireless technologies to track containers globally, and has developed its own web accessible information-technology based global tracking system. The information provided by the GeoLokTM is accessible through TrakLogTM where users can obtain the location and condition information of a given container from any computer or web enabled device.

TrakLogTM alleviates in a holistic fashion problems for companies managing containers in the supply chain including:
• Asset visibility. Where is my leased or owned container now?
• Condition monitoring. How is my container now?
• Security/stop loss. Has my container been tampered with?
• Asset utilization. When can I return my container to duty?
• Predictive maintenance of assets. When is my next required maintenance?

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