Securing global trade



Paul Hennings, Director, IP UserGroup, UK


How the latest security and surveillance technology can help keep the wheels of trade and commerce moving

Let us consider the scale of the issue of securing global trade: Maritime trade represents over 25 per cent of the US gross domestic product (GDP). In the US alone there are some 361 seaports and ships delivering an estimated nine million containers annually, and nearly 200 million passengers travel through ports via cruise ships and ferries every year.

Both ferry and container terminals occupy thousands of acres and many have buildings and operation centres distributed across the site. Homeland Security, Secretary, Tom Ridge, stated “securing US seaports has been one of the country’s most daunting goals ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001.” Expand the US scenario and consider the situation on a global level how many ports, harbours and terminals are at risk and just how easy would it be to cripple the global economy should these be threatened.

Across Europe, both the political and commercial implications of port and terminal security is taken very seriously, finding the balance between Homeland Security and commercial viability is a tough egg to crack, but an issue which UK and European  authorities and private operators are tackling head-on. Whether the concern is immigration, terrorism, contraband, theft, vandalism, arson or trespass, it comes down to the same core requirements: How can we monitor, assess and respond to potential risk? And perhaps more importantly, How much will it cost? In truth the status-quo option is no longer an option. As legislation and international codes of practice become more stringent, noncompliant operations will be forced to react or cease trading.

Has technology a part to play?

Advancements in security, surveillance and access control technology is revolutionising how security and estate management is being dealt with. Add to this the increase use of IT and telecommunications and a level of software sophistication unthought of five years ago and you will see that the latest systems have a huge role.

Ports, harbours and terminals have very specific requirements; ferry terminals like airports have a people problem – tens of thousand of travellers need to be monitored, processed and directed every day without incident or disruption.

Container terminals have completely different concerns; smuggling, illegal immigration, theft and trespass are major issues on top of the smooth running and efficient transit of cargo. Finally the port authorities themselves have a huge responsibility from immigration and customs control, through public safety, real estate management, to the duty of care to staff and customers. Is it possible to bring together all of these disparate requirements and provide a technological solution? Yes, whether we are considering CCTV, barriers, manned guarding, intruder detection, fire or the myriad of other needs. Technology has its place.

Convergence or consolidation

Some describe the utilisation of a common technology as convergence, but I prefer to use the term consolidation – bringing together disparate and complex practical needs, applying a technological solution and providing a commercial benefit. The common technology to which I am referring in this case is that of your IT network and the use of standard internet protocol (IP) systems which allow data to be freely shared, processed and reviewed. This data may be sources such as video, voice, access ID, biometric or any of the transactional business data acquired within a commercial operation.

Digital video being transmitted over an IT or IP network is probably the biggest advancement in security and surveillance in the last decade, combined with wireless communications, broadband, low cost storage and the internet and this will revolutionise the way in which security systems are designed and implemented forever. This is not a pipe dream. Systems are being installed and used on a daily basis throughout the UK and Europe and, as an understanding of the technology permeates into the security sector, so will its acceptance and the associated benefits.

Success stories

Scandlines AG ensures harbour safety with digital video surveillance

“This system is the most modern, and makes it easy to expand our security solution. That is important for us: Now that we have digital surveillance of the harbour terminals, we want to use it on the ferries and integrate it with retail security in the boutiques onboard.” – Vagn Klog, Claims Manager at Scandlines AG.

The Client: Scandlines AG is one of the world’s most frequently running shipping companies. With almost 160,000 departures, they annually transport with their ferries circa 20 million passengers, 4 million cars and about 900,000 trucks. They manage 18 ferry routes between harbours in a triangle symbolised by their company logo, marked by the boundaries of Denmark, Germany and Sweden. With a new project called ‘Via Mare Balticum’ (Through the Baltic Sea), the company is now expanding their routes to include new European Union members in the Baltics.

The Challenge: Scandlines has complex needs when it comes to their video surveillance. They have different types of businesses to manage in one organisation: Ferry transport and harbour control with traffic coordination, ticket sales and travel planning, catering in restaurants, and retail sales in boutiques – occurring both in their harbour terminals and on the ships.


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