Port Security: Intermodal Transport System
AD | 11.24.2006 | 08:17:46 | Views: 4556 | ID:
Many port facilities are under economic stress from several fronts, including antiquated technology, environmental restrictions, just-in-time manufacturing practices, overlapping federal/state/local jurisdictions, and the lack of basic technological infrastructure to orchestrate a global network for intermodal asset security monitoring and tracking. Land competition and environmental regulations likely will further restrict the geographic expansion of current port facilities. Further, the information systems for managing the supply chain still largely depend on manual date entry processes.
The worldwide ocean-going freight transportation infrastructure, known as the Marine Transportation System ("MTS") is the cornerstone of the global economic well-being and has been in crisis since September 11, 2001. Approximately ninety percent of all cargo moves via the MTS. Domestic shipping via the MTS totals over $480 billion in cargo annually and contributes $750 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. The current volume of domestic maritime shipping is expected to double over the next 20 years. International maritime shipping is expected to triple over the same time period.
In addition to concerns about MTS economic inefficiencies, a renewed emphasis on homeland security in the U.S. is evident. Terrorist threats have brought about a new reality in the MTS. Attacks will likely focus on economic means to effect change in the modern world. One need only look to the open movement of containerized cargo to find simple, effective and efficient means of large-scale economic damage. The destruction of a few key ports could bring our economy to a complete halt and cripple the nation in a matter of weeks. The result is a conflict between efficiency and security in the port system that supports the MTS.
One answer may lay within an Intermodal Transportation Management System ("ITMS") architecture, which is similar in concept to the U.S. Air Traffic Control System ("ATCS"), but oriented to cargo and shipping containers. The key is applying modern technologies and lessons learned to address the deficiencies of the ATCS model including Geographic Information Systems ("GIS").
Developed by Navigational Sciences, Inc. of Charleston, SC, the system tracks the location and condition of ships and cargo globally with two-way satellite and RFID wireless communications networks. A central operations center integrates commercially available technologies in GIS, satellite/cellular communications, global positioning systems and the Internet to create the scalable, real-time tracking and asset management system. The ITMS will provide real-time ship, container and cargo tracking for supply chain security and management needs as well as provide for increased efficiency for port management.
The intelligence captured by the ITMS can be used to provide First Responders, as well as local, state, and federal MTS stakeholders critical information at the right time and place. The ITCS architecture is designed to enhance both security and efficiency as a value proposition.
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