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U.S. Terminal Operators Join Savi System

Marine Terminals Corp. and Trans Pacific Container Service are rolling out Savi Networks' SaviTrak system so their customers can track or secure cargo containers.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jan 12, 2006Savi Networks, a joint venture of Sunnyvale, Calif., RFID systems provider Savi Technology and Hong Kong-based seaport operator Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), is partnering with two U.S. terminal operators to offer SaviTrak, Savi's RFID-enabled global container shipment-tracking service, to ocean carriers and cargo owners. SaviTrak is designed to help secure and track containers in transit, and to provide a chain of custody as the goods are shipped and received in the ports.

Marine Terminals Corp. (MTC) provides stevedore services and operates 26 terminals in 13 ports in the United States, predominately on the West Coast. Trans Pacific Container Service (TraPac) is the U.S. terminal operating subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. Both firms are rolling out the SaviTrak service. MTC handles more than 25 percent of the cargo container shipments on the U.S. West Coast, while TraPac handles one million container shipments annually.

Savi Networks is installing an infrastructure of RFID interrogators at MTC's highest-volume ports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, Tacoma and Oakland, as well as at TraPac's facilities in Los Angeles and Oakland. Next year, when TraPac opens its third facility in Jacksonville, Fla., the SaviTrak infrastructure will be deployed there, as well.

Lani Fritts, chief operating officer at Savi Networks, says his company and MTC are jointly marketing the SaviTrak service to MTC customers. "We've done some pilots," he says, "testing the technology on behalf of MTC customers, and [some of them] are now moving forward with the technology." However, he says he can not provide details on how many MTC customers are using the service.

To use SaviTrak, MTC and TraPac customers will secure container doors with Savi Technology's Savi Tag ST-676 ISO Container Security Tag, a battery-powered (active) 433 MHz RFID device that includes temperature, shock and humidity sensors. The tag sends alerts to the SaviTrak system (managed by Savi Networks) if, during transit, these sensors record variations in a container's environment that exceed set thresholds. Such a scenario could indicate that a container's security has been compromised.

At the ports, RFID interrogators rigged to the arms of large cranes that move the containers read the ST-676 tags as cargo is unloaded from or loaded onto ships. Interrogators at other choke points in the terminals provide visibility into the containers' movements between shipping partners.

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