Will containers 'Get Smart'?
In the four years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, how far has the government come in its efforts to secure the nation's 102 seaports? If the percentage of container inspections conducted is any indication, the answer is not very far. Right now, only 3 to 6 percent of the millions of containers that pass through the nation's ports annually are being inspected. And with ocean trade volumes skyrocketing (shipments have nearly doubled since 1995), inspecting more containers without choking off trade presents a huge dilemma.
One answer, says Al Delattre, a partner in Accenture's electronics and high-technology consulting practice, may lie in the smart container—a shipping container equipped with radiation sensors and mesh networking technology. "Smart shipping containers," he says, "would enable ports and transport companies to check a higher percentage of cargo containers without slowing trade and damaging the economy."
To that end, Accenture Technology Labs has developed a life-size prototype of the smart shipping container. And that smart container has turned out to be a little smarter than expected. "Not only are these sensor networks able to monitor a smart container's contents," Delattre says, "but they can monitor the contents of unequipped containers nearby as well. Sensors could help to more accurately assess current and future threats; track and detect breaches or damage to shipments; and diminish the problem of limited security investment among foreign ports as this sophisticated technique is applied worldwide."
It may not be as snazzy as the cone of silence or Max's shoe phone, but it's nonetheless pretty smart!
- FedEx acquires Genco in big push to match UPS, DHL in contract logistics
- UPS adds 1.2 million square feet to North American supply chain network
- Hours-of-service restart provisions tabled for nine months under funding bill
- Several rails post big jumps in intermodal velocity during last week, data show
- How to talk to "outsiders" about transportation budgets
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. If you're not already logged in, you will be asked to log in or register.
Feedback: What did you think of this article? We'd like to hear from you. DC VELOCITY is committed to accuracy and clarity in the delivery of important and useful logistics and supply chain news and information. If you find anything in DC VELOCITY you feel is inaccurate or warrants further explanation, please ?Subject=Feedback - : will containers 'Get Smart'?">contact Editorial Director Peter Bradley. All comments are eligible for publication in the letters section of DC VELOCITY magazine. Please include you name and the name of the company or organization your work for.