There are many types of ‘smart’ containers or ‘e-containers’ on the market which can be tracked to provide real-time data on their movements. The tracking and tracing of containers and trailers is no longer a choice, but a necessity.
This applies to commercial supply chains, as well as to the transportation of military or diplomatic cargo. As relatively few containers entering the US or EU are inspected, and national security is also an issue.
It is paramount for good practice and security reasons to monitor containers from loading to unloading, and to have information about the contents of the cargo even before the container is loaded onto the vessel, just as there is a need for the tracking and knowledge of the eventual transshipment and any unexpected tampering thereof.
CURRENT CONTAINER REGULATIONS
In the US, a 24-hour advance manifest rule (AMR) is the tool used to officially inform the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the contents of a container 24 hours before it is loaded onto a US-bound ship. Also in the US, firms certified by C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) are those with green lane access, fewer inspections and lower-risk scores (ARS or automated risk system rating), but both CSI (Container Security Initiative) and C-TPAT are voluntary programs.