Savi To Develop Disposable E-Seal

Sept. 30, 2002 — Savi Technology is teaming with OneSeal, the world’s leading provider of high-security seals for intermodal containers, to create a disposable, low-cost electronic bolt seal for securing cargo containers. The seal will use RFID technology to alert shippers and carriers when locks on containers have been tampered with or violated.

The new electronic seal will combine Savi’s EchoPoint active (that is, battery-powered) RFID transponders with OneSeal’s design and manufacturing capabilities. The two companies plan to introduce a low-cost product by early next year that will improve the security and management of cargo containers moving throughout the global supply chain by ship, rail and truck. The electronic seal will be designed to work with Savi’s supply chain tracking and transportation security software systems.

The plastic-coated metal seal, which will include an active smart tag with an integrated circuit board and miniature RFID antenna, will be engineered for the security of all kinds of cargo containers moving an estimated $12.5 trillion of merchandise traded worldwide. The initial products also will target the approximately 200 million intermodal containers on oceangoing vessels that move 90 percent of world trade between seaports annually.

Savi already has a line of disposable and reusable electronic seals for nearly every type of cargo container. Prices for these devices start at about $20 each. The two companies say the new product they are developing will take advantage of manufacturing efficiencies and new designs that will bring down the price to about $10 per seal, depending on quantities ordered, without sacrificing security.

Chris Stephenson, Savi’s VP of product management for technology, says that the new e-seal can be more widely used because it is more affordable, “which will help reduce the threat of terrorism and theft while helping to increase visibility of global supply chain inventory and utilization of these important assets.”

There have been no reported cases of terrorists using cargo containers to smuggle weapons into the U.S. or other countries. But one of the biggest fears in the U.S. today is that these containers could be used by terrorists to smuggle a nuclear weapon into the country. More than 17,000 shipping containers enter the U.S. daily, and less than 2 percent are opened and inspected.

Theft is another big issue. It’s been on the rise in the United States, with gangs in California, Florida, New York and other states, robbing container trucks. The FBI estimates theft costs companies more than $6 billion annually, up from $3.5 billion in 1998.

Savi is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. The company offers supply chain security and asset management products, including Web-enabled tracking software. The company has played a leading role in a number of initiatives with the government and private sector aimed at security goods being shipped on sea and land. OneSeal, a Danish company, has been designing and building high-security bolt seals for 25 years.