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DP World Ramps Up Its Dubai Deployment

Active RFID tags have been issued to 12,000 trucks that transport cargo to and from the company's Jebel Ali terminal, where the system is speeding up vehicle entry and exit, as well as improving security.
By Rhea Wessel
Before RFID was implemented, drivers would approach the terminal gate and make a stop to receive paper-based instructions regarding what to pick up or drop off. They stopped again upon checking out of the site, once their work was completed. "The system eliminates most paperwork for drivers," Bin Saifan says, "and saves an average of 10 minutes per inbound and outbound load."

If the driver of an untagged truck wants to enter the facility, that vehicle is assigned a temporary tag upon payment of a deposit. This deposit is refundable when the driver exits and returns the same RFID tag to the company.

DP World's Rashid Bin Saifan
One reason DP World chose radio frequency identification for the job, Dempsey says, is that an OCR system would not always successfully read a truck's license plate, since the vehicles may carry their plates in different positions, such as inside the windshield.

According to Bin Saifan, the main benefits of the project, which developed from an idea the company had in 2004, are improved efficiency and truck turnaround times, the elimination of waiting at terminal gates for drivers, increased vehicle fuel efficiency and higher customer satisfaction levels, as well as a chance for the transport companies to increase their revenue and reduce costs through time saved by using RFID. In addition, he notes, the system helps DP World be prepared to scale up quickly for higher freight volumes, if necessary.

At some point, the system could also be employed as a basis for automating additional processes. DP World could set up a fully automated container hand-off system, for instance, in which a truck's RFID tag would be read at the point that containers are to be loaded onto or unloaded from a truck within the terminal.

In the unloading area, for example, an RFID interrogator could again collect the truck ID information already linked to the container ID during the check-in process at the gate. That data, Dempsey explains, would provide the container-handling equipment (CHE), such as lifting arms or cranes, with instructions regarding what to do with the container—that is, unload it and move it to a particular position.

DP World is also deploying Identec's RFID technology at other terminals it operates (see RFID Boosts DP World's Productivity in Australia).

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