Can RFID Be Installed on Oil Trucks to Stop Smuggling?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Be Installed on Oil Trucks to Stop Smuggling?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago

If so, can you please provide some examples?

—Name withheld


Yes, it can.

Tanzanian logistics firm Usangu Logistic Ltd. employs an RFID-based system to help assure the distribution of oil products to the proper channels as its drivers transport fuel to gas stations throughout East and Central Africa. The system employs GPS and RFID technologies provided and installed by Mukri & Co. (M&C), a transit cargo and supply chain management solutions firm. The solution has been in use since January 2011, to determine how well RFID could control product pilferage by tracking whether a tank is sealed, thanks to an RFID tag that transmits its status to a reader and then forwards the reader data, along with its GPS coordinates, to back-end software. The hatch to the gas tank is sealed via an RFID seal, which cannot be opened if the GPS coordinates fail to show the truck as being at a customer location (see Tanzanian Logistics Company Tracks Fuel Trucks).

Eastern European oil company Rompetrol utilizes RFID seals as part of a tanker-truck monitoring solution used on 80 company fuel trucks to protect and manage its product. Trucks transport fuel from gas depots to gas stations in remote areas of Romania and Bulgaria. The system includes RFID-based seals on trucks, as well as RFID interrogators deployed at depots and gas stations, and on vehicles. Before delivery drivers can refill a gas tank, the station's RFID interrogator receives unique ID numbers encoded to the active tags embedded in the truck's and station's Hi-G-Locks. The interrogator then transmits that information to Rompetrol's back-end system, where Hi-G-Tek software translates the information and issues alerts in the event of a seal breach or an improper fueling at the station. If a driver is about to make a mistake—for instance, if a particular tank that person is about to fill requires a different grade of fuel—the truck's RFID reader will send out an alert (see RFID Fuels Gas Tank Security).

Viridis, a Toronto-based provider of vehicle-fuel dispensing systems for compressed natural gas (CNG), as well as hydrogen, has developed an RFID-based system for ensuring safety and accurate billing when refueling CNG vehicles. The same type of system could be used to prevent oil smuggling. Viridis' RFID-based system comprises passive low-frequency (LF) ISO 11785-compliant tags and interrogators, a customized reader antenna designed into the fuel-dispensing nozzle assembly and specialized software to manage tag data. The RFID tag is attached, using a strong epoxy, near the vehicle's fueling valve, and within the tag's four-inch read range. Viridis software collects that tag data and controls the dispenser, so that it will only begin dispensing fuel when a valid RFID tag is read.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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