The Port of Virginia (VPA), located in Norfolk, VA, is joining with GE’s Security business to install fixed “readers” at several marine terminals to communicate with Container Security Devices (CSDs) mounted in ocean-going cargo containers as they pass through those facilities, said J. Robert Bray, VPA’s executive director.
This project makes VPA one of the first U.S. ports in the worldwide Secure Cargo Corridors network being built-up by CommerceGuard, a joint venture of Siemens, GE and Mitsubishi to help verify and locate in real time unauthorized opening of containers with a high degree of accuracy and reliability, he said.
“This is important technology that will not only help improve the security of containers, but also provide more complete information about a container’s contents and transportation history,” Bray noted. “We expect many of the companies that use our terminals, as well as the government authorities who work closely with us here, to benefit greatly from this new capability.”
CSDs magnetically adhere to the inside of an international cargo container and register any opening of the container door, he explained. Fixed and handheld readers record the CSD status in a database that can be accessed by authorized importers, shippers and government officials anywhere in the world.
The infrastructure installed at VPA will read the status of the CSDs installed and armed inside a container as it passes through the port, and instantly communicate that information to the importer and other authorized individuals, Bray noted. It not only sounds an alarm over unauthorized container openings but also stores and communicates valuable information about the exact ports the container has traveled through along with who initially loaded it and where.
“We’ve proved its reliability in multiple independent tests. Now it’s time to implement CommerceGuard for real,” said Louis Parker, president & CEO of GE Security.He added that, in March, Starbucks became the first company to begin operational use of CommerceGuard CSDs on their shipments of green coffee beans from Guatemala to the U.S. and Europe. Siemens, a CommerceGuard partner, also recently announced it has reached an agreement to install the first CommerceGuard readers in the Port of Antwerp, opening the first secure cargo corridor between Europe and the U.S.