Securing America's Ports

Government awards start-up technology project for second largest U.S. port

Washington, DC  February 14, 2003  SkyBitz, a provider of strategic information services for the transportation industry, this week announced that it has been awarded a subcontract under a $1 million grant sponsored by the Department of Transportation's Transportation Security Agency (TSA).

The provider said the grant focuses on implementing SkyBitz's Global Locating System (GLS) technology at the Port of Long Beach. The Port of Long Beach is one of 14 strategic ports identified by the TSA and the GLS technology will provide a "Constant Visibility Solution" for sea containers, adding a substantial layer of security.

In June of 2002, the Department of Transportation announced a $92 million program for enhancing port security. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA), in conjunction with the Maritime Administration (MARAD), requested proposals for "proof of concept" demonstration projects for off-the-shelf technology to enhance maritime security. The requirements for the grant included a detailed "proof of concept" demonstration that was measured against an 18-point evaluation.

"We are truly pleased because this grant provides us with both the opportunity to meet grave security needs for our country and to demonstrate SkyBitz's ability to lower the operating costs of a major transportation system," said Matthew Schor, president and founder of SkyBitz.

Helen Bentley, former chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission stated, "SkyBitz is unique in its ability to track sea containers in real time, via satellite, while simultaneously lowering the operating costs for global sea container transportation operations."

The SkyBitz GLS technology is an advancement of the global positioning systems (GPS), performing positioning calculations centrally rather than in the GPS chip on the actual mobile tracking equipment.

Santa Clara-based, WhereNet, a wireless solution provider for managing mobile assets, and SkyBitz are jointly developing the "Constant Visibility Solution." Constant visibility enables transportation carriers to know the precise location and status of cargo in real time. This allows cargo to be accounted for at all times, to be rerouted to avoid potential obstacles, and to ensure safe and efficient passage throughout the supply chain.

"While some package delivery companies can tell customers where a particular package was last seen within their closed network, tracking and securing cargo that may be handled by multiple carriers, across multiple modes of transportation, is very daunting," explained Chris Farmer, vice president of business development for SkyBitz. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to show that our GLS technology provides a component of the homeland security solution."