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Smart and Secure Tradelanes (SST)

Abstract: An industry initiative, SST, was established in October of 2002. The purpose is to identify the tampering of containers while in transit using automated tracking, detection and security technologies. Once the initiative is fully implemented, the goal is for these SST containers to quickly move through customs throughout the world.

Smart and Secure Tradelanes (SST)

Over 17,000 containers arrive daily in United States seaports, which are located in or near major industrial centers (1). These containers must be secured to ensure the contents and containers are not compromised in any way. The Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative was established by the container shipping industry to ensure the security of cargo containers. The purpose is to identify the tampering of containers while in transit using automated tracking, detection, and security technologies.

SST was started by three of the world’s largest port operators, Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), P&O Ports, and PSA Corporations. These corporations manage over 70 percent of the world’s containers at their port facilities (2). Since it was established in October of 2002, over 40 supply chain partners have committed to improving container security around the world. SST’s objective is to “rapidly deploy a baseline infrastructure that provides real-time visibility, physical security through non-intrusive, automated inspection and detection alerts, as well as a complete audit trail of a container’s journey from origin to final destination (2).”

To achieve this objective, SST is using the Total Assest Visibility (TAV) network which was developed by the U.S Department of Defense. This network allows the integration of data collection devices such as RFID and GPS with the Universal Data Appliance Protocol (UDAP). Using these devices, containers are tracked from the point of manufacture, port of loading, transshipment port, and to final delivery (1). Ports involved in the initiative install RFID reader technology that can communicate with the network, enabling monitoring of containers with smart electronic seals (2).

The Strategic Council on Security Technology is helping to coordinate the SST. The council is composed of top executives from the largest port operators, logistics technology providers, U.S generals, and transportation consultants. The mission of the council is to “help insure greater supply chain security through best-of-breed practices and technologies while working with other industry associations (2).”

SST Example (3)

To track chilled and frozen beef from Namibia to the United Kingdom, containers are being tracked with RFID tags and networked software. The “SST for Africa” project, sponsored by different government organizations, wants to determine if tracking shipments will improve the quality management of perishable products. The shipments are being tracked with RFID readers at inland and seaport checkpoints. Other technologies track the shipments and develop a “journey plan” to extend the visibility of the supply chain to different supply chain partners. The pilot project is allowing SST technology to interact with other leading edge technology to create a total supply chain security solution.

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(1) Press release: Strategic Council on Security Technology and US Sen. Patty Murray Announce Global “Smart and Secure Tradelanes” Initiative for Ocean Cargo Coming into the United States

(2) “Port of Houston Joins Smart and Secure Tradelanes – SST – as Vital New Link in the Global Security Network.” Material Handling Management Online.

(3) “Smart and Secure Tradelanes tracks meat from Africa to UK.” Frontline Today.