Home » ITinerary » Container Tracking Technology Implementation In the Philippines

Happy new year to all our readers!

Last month there were again new reports about the ongoing re-assessment by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on the use of global positioning system (GPS) and GPS-equipped barrier seals as “the mandatory” technology for monitoring & tracking of containers carrying transit cargo as provided for in Customs Administrative Order 04-2010 and Customs Memorandum Order 24-2010.

It was previously reported that radio frequency identification (RFID) is being considered as an alternative technology due to its cheaper cost.

I leave it up to BOC, the various service providers (SGS, COTECNA and TIM Corporation) and the stakeholders to resolve this issue.

In our column today I am giving our readers a brief backgrounder on various technologies for container tracking implemented or introduced in the Philippines since 1996.

GPS-Based Monitoring Of Container Transfers From The Port To ATI ICD Calamba

In late 1996 Asian Terminals Inc (the current port operator of South Harbor) commenced commercial operations of its inland clearance depot (ICD) in Calamba, Laguna. BOC allowed ICD to operate “as an extension of the port” and required ATI to implement a GPS-based system to monitor and track all container transfers after undergoing customs clearance documentation and processing at the port.

During that time the GPS service provider was a company named Asian Navigation & Tracking Systems, Inc (ANTS).

The GPS-based container transfer system was successful and BOC then rode on its momentum to introduce the concept to encompass container transfers to PEZA zones. However, it did not materialize due to the high costs of investment required from trucking companies (GPS antennaes installed on trucks and monthly subscription services).

For its part, ATI ICD continued to use the GPS-based system for such a long time until low-cost solutions from other GPS-based providers became available.

GE Security-Samsung Corp CommerceGuard Container Security Solution

From 2006 to 2008, Samsung Corp introduced the CommerceGuard container security to BOC and Philippine importers/exporters.

The CommerceGuard System was based on a Container Security Device (CSD) that magnetically adheres to the inside of an international cargo container and registers any opening of the container door. Fixed and handheld readers at critical points along a supply chain report the container’s status from the CSD to a CommerceGuard Data Center. Authorized cargo owners, logistics providers, and government authorities were told they can securely access the information with an Internet browser from anyplace in the world. Any unauthorized door opening was recorded as a tamper event and alerts are routed to appropriate officials. Cargo owners were able to use the Data Center to gain visibility of their shipments location and status moving through the supply chain.

Its pilot use in the Philippines was supposed to be made by a big multinational corporation but this did not push through. One of the reasons cited for its failure was the infrastructure requirement to reinstalling fixed readers along the routes of trucks carrying containers equipped with CSDs.

CommerceGuard AB, the container tracking service jointly owned by GE Security, Mitsubishi Corp, Samsung C&T Corp and Siemens Building Technologies, was liquidated at the end of 2010. The reason cited was that the market for container tracking services driven by regulatory requirements for greater supply chain security has failed to emerge.

Globe GPS Tracker

At the start of 2010 the Globe Business GPS Tracker was launched 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.

The solution was actually pilot implemented by Nestle in 2009 and was reported to be a success. The GPS Tracker consists of a GPS tracking device with SIM and a central monitoring system.

Based on information available in the Globe Business Solution website, the features and benefits of Globe GPS Tracker are the following:

• Simple and easy to use, web-based and can be accessed from any PC with internet

• Track personnel, vehicles and other moving assets

• Generate location reports on the web or through a Globe cellular phone get reports anywhere and in real-time

• Define the people and groups to be tracked

• Create zones and receive alerts when assets enter or leave a specified location

• Track via a created alias instead of a mobile number for easy identification

• Secure Usage

• Tracker promotes peace of mind, by knowing where your assets are, even after they’ve left then office premises

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

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