The Online Real-time Monitoring System for the Whole Process of Container Logistics Chain

The need for container logistics security

For the past 10 years, container throughput in China has been steadily growing at a rate of 30 per cent, with 112 million TEU passing through ports in 2007. That same year, Shanghai Port realised container throughput of 26.15 million TEU, which ranks second in the world.

With the rapid development of container logistics, the need for the distribution of information is becoming an important factor in container transportation. However, since no information could be obtained from the container itself , infor mation deliver y dur ing container transportation still relies on conventional methods.

In recent years, smuggling by container has become a serious problem. The Seattle Times reported that 22 stowaways were spotted by US Customs hiding in a container. In addition, concern over food safety has been raised around the world as hundreds of Japanese reported feeling ill from eating insecticidetainted dumplings at the end of January, 2008. Experts in the food industry believed that the contamination most likely took place during the long transportation and storage.

These are the application benefits expected of the system:

• A controllable and transparent process for container logistics, effectively enhancing the level of Government supervision of cargos

• Raising the level of national security and protection, as well as the level of port security

• Providing real-time status of all cargos

• Prevention of cargo losses.

Thus, it is urgent for modern container logistics to adopt an online real-time monitoring system which can record container information, its cargo, as well as the time and location that a container is opened and closed, in order to improve logistics efficiency and increase level of service.

System overview

This Online Real-time Monitoring System for the Whole Process of Container Logistics Chain is a revolutionary system of two procedures (‘Port to Port’ and ‘CFS to CFS’) and three parts that provide several functions:

• At any stuffing/stripping area, web-based R/W equipment can communicate with electronic-tags and upload information to the website in real-time

• It can automatically record container opening or closing time and the location by R/W equipment connected with GPS

• An alarm is raised in real-time if the container is not authorised to be opened, so that unsafe incidents can be traced

• At the terminal, EDI data can be automatically recorded, including all information related to container logistics

• Developed fixed reader and portable reader

• The real-time data exchange for the whole process of container logistics chain can be realised by a hybrid network which is composed of GPRS/CDMA, wireless LAN and the internet

• The real-time inquiry can be provided for ocean carriers, cargo owners, cargo agency, ports, customers, inspections, etc. The whole container transportation process can be visually tracked.

Bao Qifan, Vice President, Shanghai International Port (Group) Co. Ltd, China, Jiang Xia, Shanghai Qifan Co. Ltd, China, & Wu Zhaowei, Wuhan University of Technology, China
Edition: Edition 39

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