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Ports in China, U.S. to Pilot RFID Tracking Trade Lane

Cargo containers shipped from the Port of Shanghai, the world's busiest port, to the Port of Savannah in the U.S. will be tagged and tracked with active RFID technology in a trial this summer. The electronic cargo seal tags conform to the new ISO 18185 standard and will be tracked with RFID infrastructure from Savi Networks.
Jun 08, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 8, 2007—Ocean cargo shipments originating in Shanghai and arriving in Savannah, Georgia, will be tracked and secured with an active RFID technology, port authorities announced at a logistics trade event this week. Savi Networks announced its tags and software will provide the infrastructure for the new Shanghai-Savannah Express Trade Lane Project.

The pilot will begin in July or August this year and will involve 500 containers tagged with Savi's active RFID-based cargo seals, according to Savi's senior director of corporate communications Mark Nelson. Tagged containers will be identified when they arrive at the gate at the Port of Shanghai, when they are loaded onto ships, when they are offloaded in Savannah, and when they leave the Savannah port by truck. Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), which operates the Shanghai port, already uses a similar system from Savi to track shipments to Yantai, China.

The seals operate at 433.92 MHz and conform to the new ISO 18185 standard for electronic cargo seals, which is based on the ISO 18000-7 air interface protocol standard for active RFID. Savi worked with officials in China to secure approval for ISO 18000-7 and related standards (see De Facto Global Standard for Active RFID is Emerging). Handheld and fixed-position readers are being installed at strategic points at the ports, including on the large cranes that unload containers in Savannah, to automatically identify shipping containers.

Data from tag reads is transferred to Savi's software and monitoring network, which provides Web-based access to location information and other data, and can issue real-time alerts if containers have been tampered with.

“We're embarking on this pilot with Savi Networks to ensure that SIPG provides our customers and China Customs with state-of-the-art information services to optimize both the efficiency and security of shipments both domestically and globally," SIPG executive vice president Bao Qifan is quoted in Savi's release.

Once the Shanghai-Savannah pilot is complete, the port operators and logistics providers will evaluate if the system should be continued or expanded. Nelson said such systems can be expanded up and down the supply chain by adding read points at manufacturing and distribution facilities.

The Port of Shanghai is the largest cargo port in the world by tonnage and the third largest in container throughput.

"This is another example of how Savi Networks' network is expanding," Nelson told RFID Update. "Our infrastructure is now installed at about 20 port terminal facilities on four continents, that together account for the large majority of all container traffic shipped around the world."

This year Savi Networks announced new implementations in Hong Kong, Thailand, the Netherlands, and South Carolina. Savi reports the U.S. military has deployed its tracking technology at more than 1,500 locations and uses it to track more than 35,000 shipments by land and sea annually.
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