Port of Miami Cargo Gate: Using technology to improve throughput and enhance security: Part 2



Dr. Kenneth Christopher, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Park University, Missouri, USA


Part 1 of this article was originally published in edition 43 of Port Technology International and is available for download here.

Recent technology enhancements at Florida’s Port of Miami (POM) have focused on the development and implementation of a new Cargo Gate Complex and Vehicle Processing System. This innovative integration of entrepreneurial business processes with security systems achieves efficiencies in cargo throughout while simultaneously improving access control management. POM is an excellent example of how creative information technology (IT) solutions can help port management merge business and security systems to address the needs of both government security regulations and the cargo container trade.

Part 2 of this article continues the discussion of how POM’s new Cargo Gate Vehicle Processing System has provided a longterm solution to their cargo throughput problem.

The long term solution
The long-term solution to the cargo throughput problem included reengineering the port’s main roadway system to separate cargo vehicles from non-cargo traffic; relocating the main cargo gate to extend the queuing area for trucks; and incorporating new technology to integrate the port’s business and security systems and reduce the labour needed to process gate transactions. The new cargo gate complex consists of 16 lanes, 10 inbound and six outbound. The 10 inbound lanes include seven truck technology only (unmanned) lanes; two multi-use (manned) lanes; and one personal vehicle only lane. The outbound lanes consist of four truck technology lanes; one multi-use lane; and one personal vehicle only lane. Security personnel staff three inbound gates, and two outbound gates. Outbound gates incorporate US Customs and Border Protection Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM) to detect the presence of radiation in all moving vehicles and containers exiting the POM.

POM’s new Cargo Gate Vehicle Processing System controls access to the restricted cargo areas. Employing an assortment of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, proximity readers, magnetic-stripe readers, OCR readers, biometric capabilities, and microphones, the system processes vehicles and their occupants prior to granting access. In the new gate complex, unmanned, interactive consoles, or pedestals, are used for processing inbound and outbound transactions. The pedestals enable truck drivers to enter information and process themselves much as a bank customer interacts with an automated teller machine. Verbal communications are enabled between the driver and control facility, which is staffed by POM security personnel to remotely monitor and process transactions. Security personnel verify the data being entered and approve or deny entry. The pedestal includes an entry documents dispenser.  The processing time for permanent POM ID cardholders hasbeen estimated to take 20 seconds or less. OCR software and equipment acquire the container, chassis, and truck-tractor license plate numbers.

The CCTV equipment is used as a backup for the OCR system. POM now employs an automatic debit system for truck companies to collect the scale fees and eliminate the need for cash transactions at the gates. The multiuse lanes are available for cash transactions. To motivate truck companies to migrate to the debit system, cash users are assessed a US$2.50 surcharge. The system includes a call button to request assistance, and multilingual display options in English and Spanish. The POM provides port users with clear, userfriendly information about using the automated gates via its web site at http://www.miamidade.gov/portofmiami.

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