E-tags for Containers

By: Salvo

The first experimentation phase of the containers' electronic control system is about to be finalized. The 'e-tag' system has been designed in China by the Shanghai Port Authority.
An 'e-tag' is an electronic tag applied on a container that 'reports' to control centres the information about the operations on the container via RF and web links.
Every unscheduled operation carried out on the container - such as loading or unloading of goods or opening the doors - causes the activation of an alarm.
The electronic tag has been applied on a 20-foot container loaded on the Ningbo, a Chinese-owned container ship sailing between the ports of Shanghai and Savannah (USA).
The single tag cost is extremely affordable: 4.5 Euros for an expected tag life of 10 years.
The implementation of such an electronic system would indeed solve several security-related issues.


The system could also be used in other areas where containers or special containers for the transport of goods are employed.
The experimentation phase is about to be finalized and the Port of Shanghai has already planned to install this security system in the forthcoming three months. It also intends to propose it as a standard to the next TEU meeting to be held in Berlin in next April.
The need to apply a security system to containers dates back to when the Italian Senate, triggered by US declarations, published a report about the several weak points of the ports.

The frightening perspective that containers could be transformed into real weapons emerged after 9-11 attacks. At that time, total control over individual containers was considered an impossible achievement. A few years later, true container security is a fact.

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