Home » Customs & Trade » New developments in cargo track & trace in the Philippines

By LEO V. MORADA, IT Columnist

AT least two developments within this year highlight the latest trends in cargo “track & trace” implementations that should prove beneficial to stakeholders in the cargo transport & logistics industry. Both of these utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) which is a satellite-based navigation system that determines the precise location of cargo trucks, containers and other cargo transport vehicles.

Globe GPS Tracker

Last February, Globe Telecoms – through its corporate arm, Globe Business — formally launched a new cargo tracking solution intended to benefit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in terms of ensuring efficient delivery and tight security of their products while being transported.

In a press release issued during its launching, the Globe Business GPS Tracker is described as “an innovative Globe Business solution that will give entrepreneurs, especially those in the delivery business, the ability to monitor their vehicles in real-time using the Global Positioning System (GPS)”.

It further states that “With the GPS Tracker, entrepreneurs are given assurance of increased protection for their assets and products, as they are able to monitor and know the exact location of their trucks and cargo en route to their destinations. Business owners can also reduce their fuel and vehicle maintenance expenses by giving the drivers the most fuel-efficient and time-efficient routes. The GPS Tracker service can also generate historic tracking reports where information such as mileage and fuel used, as well as the trip time, can be easily uploaded. Aside from monitoring, the GPS Tracker can also help company owners reduce theft and pilferage, or lock or unlock the doors, and alert sensors”.

The GPS Tracker is described to consist of the following components — a GPS Tracking device with SIM and a central monitoring system. Nestle Philippines is among the first to pilot test and subse-quently use this track & trace solution.

Enhanced Customs Transit System Using GPS

Last July the Bureau of Customs issued Customs Administrative Order 4-2010 on the subject: Establishing An Enhanced Customs Transit System Using Global Positioning System. At the same time, it also issued a Customs Memorandum Order on the subject: Rules and Regulations to Implement CAO 4-2010 on Establishing an Enhanced Customs Transit System with the Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology.

The CMO provides that to strengthen the security of transit cargo and more effectively secure the duties and taxes due on them, all transit cargo shall be securely sealed with the following prescribed Customs Electronic GPS-Eqquiped Barrier Seal (EGBS) or a Customs Bar-Coded Seal before clearance is given to depart the port of discharge for the transit voyage to the port of destination:

For containerized cargo, the Customs EGBS shall be a GPS-equipped barrier that would be affixed on to the container door to ensure that the cargo is not tampered while in transit. It shall have the following features:

  • It must be strong and made of durable material with sufficient strength to prevent accidental breakage , early deterioration (due to weather conditions, chemical action, etc) or undetectable tampering;
  • It must be securely equipped with a tamper proof portable GPS unit with at least a five-day battery life;
  • It must be capable of being affixed easily and quickly as well as being checked and identified; It should transmit a signal to alert the Customs monitor whenever the seal has been tampered and the container door opened;
  • To enhance seal monitoring and accounting, each seal shall be registered with the designated BOC office and marked with a unique, tamper-proof number; and,
  • It must bear visible marks “Tampering of this Customs Seal is punishable under Customs Laws”.

For break bulk cargo, the Customs seal shall be a barcoded adhesive tape applied on selected packages. The bar code on the tape shall be identical to the bar code on the Transit Permit.

The Enhanced Customs Transit System further requires that the voyage of the transit cargo that is sealed with a GPS-equipped Customs Clamping Seal shall be tracked and monitored by BOC. The tracking and monitoring system shall have the following features:

  • It should allow for real time tracking by BOC of the transit cargo through GPS;
  • It should be sufficiently secure to prevent unauthorized access to the tracking and monitoring process and the data that the system generates;
  • It should be capable of alerting BOC monitors of any deviations from predetermined routes; and,
  • It should be able to generate and store historical data of the transit voyage from the port of discharge to its final destination and should indicate incidents that are deemed unusual according to predetermined criteria.

Leo V. Morada is a domain expert on IT applications in Philippine port operations with 25years senior IT management experience implementing technology solutions in port operations, electronic transactions with customs & port authority, and port community system applications. He is currently CEO of Cargo Data Exchange Center, Incorporated which is a customs-accredited Value Added Service Provider. He can be contacted at lmorada3f1@yahoo.com.

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