Alternatives for Container Security: New Scientific Results

Friday, 14 February 2014
Toronto (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Stephan Lechner , European Commission, Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy

The talk gives an overview over the container security activities of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and the most recent findings. A more comprehensive monitoring of containers without manual inspection or screening can be achieved over a new generation of “intelligent” cargo containers, equipped with electronic sensors and capable of communicating with the outside world wirelessly at any time. Currently there is no way of checking the status of a container which is among a stack of other containers on board a cargo vessel. Today’s electronic container monitoring solutions are realised over add-ons requiring a direct GSM connection or a satellite link. Future concepts might see containers made of composite materials with integrated security and communication features, and containers using each other as multi-hop communications forwarder to allow continued monitoring also during transport on cargo vessels. Remote container monitoring will add to the picture: statistical outlier analysis has proven to be a good tool to identify suspicious containers by looking at their stopover times, their itineraries and their transhipments. These methods will be improved in the future to move from a reactive model (analysing existing data) to a pro-active model (making predictions) for container risk assessment. Combining communication between containers with information retrieved from container tracking has the potential to create a whole domain of “big data” of 20 million cargo containers being shipped worldwide.