Private Sector Addresses Cross-Border Security Concerns

Commercial truck pilot program to improve security and supply chain efficiencies

Barry Hochfelder
Barry Hochfelder

For many years, there have been major concerns about the commercial Mexico-U.S. cross-border policies that slow down the movement of cargo. Because of the security risk resulting from drug cartel involvement, along with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) concerns for accuracy in cargo identification—and the need to know how efficiently cargo moves through customs facilities—an important new demonstration project is under way. Six major U.S. firms have developed, directed and funded this program to address security, visibility, control and efficiency in international shipments.

The companies, ORBCOMM, GlobalTrak and Powers International, have joined together with international shipper Bridgestone Tires, and its U.S. motor carrier, Landstar, and motor carrier Royal Express & Trucking to demonstrate solutions to these serious land ports-of-entry issues. The project’s outcomes would also benefit movement to and through our seaports.

Powers International and GlobalTrak have confirmed the support of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP as observers and reviewers of the cross-border project’s accomplishments and benefits. The project is taking place from a Mexican origin in the interior of Mexico through the port cities of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, the largest U.S. land port-of-entry on the southern border to an interior location within the United States.  

The project would provide 100 percent monitoring of the shipping container’s movement to include its arrival at Aduana (Mexican Customs), and CBP and the times of departure from these port facilities, any opening or intrusion into it and where the intrusion took place, even “geo-fencing” or off-course movement of the conveyance with automatic reporting by the conveyance’s container security device (CSD) to a national control center, the Information Management Bureau (IMB), where all electronic data would be maintained and disseminated to appropriate stakeholders for their use.

Additionally, the project would offer specific benefits to the control of in-bond movements by informing CBP of the conveyance location and whether the bonded container was opened within the commercial territory of the United States, not to mention the asset recovery and intelligence mapping benefits of these controlled movements. Finally, the results of this project would provide bottom-line financial benefits as a result of faster and more efficient movement through the supply chain accommodating CBP’s trade facilitation efforts.

Each of the involved companies brings its own expertise to the project. ORBCOMM is a vendor of intermodal container tracking solutions featuring GPS or satellite communication. GlobalTrak provides fuel security and telematics, and was selected for a project that tracks and secures U.S. government fuel deliveries in Afghanistan. Powers International is the patent holder of the worldwide chain-of-custody system that documents the loading of cargo into its shipping container at origin; identifies the individual who attests to the cargo’s description and quantity, conveyance number and manifest data needed by customs authorities; monitors the conveyance (container or trailer) movement; and reports breaches and the geographical location of the conveyance at the time of breach.

The program would provide valuable information for all methods of transportation in the supply chain.