Tamper-Evident Secure Container Tested

GE completes first commercial trial of "affordable" cargo security technology

GE completes first commercial trial of "affordable" cargo security technology

Washington, DC — January 13, 2005 — GE's Security business has completed the first commercial field test of the Tamper-Evident Secure Container (TESC), a new generation of freight container that integrates a container security device (CSD) into a standard maritime shipping container with the goals of protecting container integrity throughout the supply chain and making cargo security affordable for manufacturers and shippers.

The redesigned container, which incorporates GE's CommerceGuard container security device, was developed jointly by GE and China International Marine Containers Group Ltd.(CIMC), a manufacturer of maritime shipping containers. GE licensed the security device technology from Sweden's All Set Marine Security AB.

IT services and technology company Unisys Corporation, which has container security testing and integration expertise, served as the systems integrator for the project and was responsible for the testing and analysis of the project results.

Unisys tested 15 different security breach attempts in Mainland China, Hong Kong and the United States. All 15 were properly detected and communicated by the TESC containers, GE said.

"The test results of the TESC project are very encouraging", said Greg Baroni, president of Unisys Global Public Sector. "Embedding the CSD within the infrastructure of the container enhances both the security and financial viability of this solution. We've tested many container security technologies, and the CSD clearly is the gold standard."

"The future of global commerce depends on the ability of the shipping industry and government agencies to improve cargo security while streamlining the flow of goods," said Greg Burge, president of Monitored Solutions for GE's security business. "With the successful completion of the TESC test, we have demonstrated a solution that meets the security demands of government and enables the ports to move goods efficiently at a cost-per-shipment that is viable for shippers."

Aiming for Affordable Security

The TESC solution is a combination of physical enhancements and an electronic integrated Container Security Device (iCSD), a technology that allows the shipper to arm the container using a unique, encrypted code after it is stuffed and sealed with a traditional bolt seal.

As the container passes within range of the global wireless reader infrastructure — similar to common electronic toll collection systems — the iCSD tells logistics and customs officials where the container is located, when it arrived and if unauthorized personnel opened it en route. This information gives manufacturers, customs officials and importers the data they need to determine if a particular container was compromised at any point throughout the supply chain.

Because the iCSD, which is integrated into the doorframe of the TESC solution, uses public wireless communication infrastructure and a point-to-point approach, it's significantly less expensive to operate than other technologies, according to GE.

"Supply chain security is critically important to our customers and the well-being of the global economy," said David Wong, chief technology officer with CIMC. "However, until now, the cost of securing a container and building the necessary information sharing infrastructure has been cost-prohibitive to exporters, which are competing in an extremely competitive global economy."

Wong asserted that the test of the TESC proves that "security doesn't have to be expensive, especially when the features are built into the container."

CIMC, based in Shenzhen, China, is the world's largest manufacturer of shipping containers. In fact, 50 percent of all new freight containers are manufactured by CIMC.

What's In the Box?

GE's CommerceGuard System also includes container security devices that can be installed in less than a minute and without using tools to retrofit the world's existing population of freight containers. Both types of devices, the CSD and the iCSD, share the same wireless reader infrastructure, which, GE said, makes the overall system cost effective to deploy globally.

The technology was invented by All Set Marine Security AB of Sweden and is exclusively licensed to GE by All Set. The physical enhancements to the container — including improved door locking mechanisms, tamper-proof hinges and improved placement for a door seal — were designed and built into the container by CIMC. Unisys provided systems integration services and oversaw the deployment of the project.

Each year, more than nine million freight containers arrive at U.S. ports, approximately 50 percent more than 2001 because of the proliferation of global trade and "just-in-time" manufacturing and retailing strategies. The increased threat of global terrorism has raised awareness that these containers are a vulnerable point in the supply chain.

In response, initiatives including C-TPAT, a partnership between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the trade community, are being developed to implement security standards that better protect the entire supply chain — from foreign loading docks to American ports of entry. In exchange, companies that meet security standards set by Customs and Border Protection will get a "green lane" through U.S. ports, which can translate into greater supply chain efficiency and cost savings for businesses.

Because the TESC gives U.S. Customs further assurance that the items in the container are limited to those packed by the approved shipper, it could potentially be used as a "layered security element," a necessary requirement for receiving "green lane" access, GE said.

For more information on solutions for supply chain security, see "Building the Secure Supply Chain," the Net Best Thing article in the June/July 2003 issue of iSource Business (now Supply & Demand Chain Executive) magazine.

For more information on the challenges and opportunities presented by increasingly global supply chains, see the special in-depth report in the August/September 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, which includes the following articles:

For a look at how Tyco Fire & Security is tackling trade compliance issues in its global supply chain, see "Turning Global Trade Compliance Into a Competitive Advantage," in the August/September 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
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