GE enters “smart box” market
GE enters “smart box” market
General Electric will commercialize an electronic security device and associated tracking service for maritime containers in the second half of the year, seeking to capitalize on concerns about container security and declarations by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) it would provide green lane incentives for shippers who use “smart containers.”
To be named “CommerceGuard,” GE’s system will comprise an electronic sensor with a radio tag mounted inside the container door, as well as computer monitoring of when authorized persons activate or deactivate the device and whether any tampering occurs. The device will record and transmit security information and communicate with readers installed at ports or shipper premises.
Wim Lintermans, director of security of GE Security in Europe, told the Worldwide Security Conference in Brussels on Monday that the security device will be fitted permanently to the container, with a battery life of 10 years, and activated at the point of loading the containers, for each shipment.
He estimates that the cost of the equipment and data monitoring will be “less than $10 per shipment.”
GE’s “CommerceGuard” security system is expected to compete against the “smart and secure tradelanes” electronic container sensor system backed by P&O Ports, Hutchison and PSA Corp.
Ocean carriers have been lukewarm about the prospect of adding active electronic security devices to 19 million maritime containers used worldwide. Last year, the Washington-based World Shipping Council carrier group told CBP it should separate electronic devices related to container security and those related to supply chain cargo management. Maersk has also recently said current electronic sensor technology produces too many false alerts.
Alfons Guinier, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners Association, said European shipping lines favor a rule for a mandatory sealing of containers at shippers’ premises, but not using electronic seals. “We have to learn to walk before we run,” he told the security conference in Brussels.
Lintermans said the GE group has a stake in container security both as a major shipper and as a shareholder in GE Seaco, a major container leasing company.
“Twenty thousand containers land in the U.S. every day,” Lintermans said. Only about 4 percent of containers are physically inspected. “One incident can disrupt global trade.”
Companies' logistics personnel using the new container security system would be able to obtain information and use it for transportation planning, according to GE Security. “Supply chain participants can elect to share this information with government officials, because CommerceGuard’s secure servers can be integrated with government information systems,” the company added.