Airbus Defence and Space

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Satellite-based container monitoring

Airbus Defence and Space’s SeCureSystem satellite-based container monitoring system could represent a cost-effective response to the USA’s announcement that, as of 2015, 100% of all sea containers bound for the United States will be required to undergo scanning in the last port visited before entering US territory.

The system consists of a telematic box equipped with a monitoring system which is attached to the container doors. Sensors monitor the condition of the container – for example, whether it is open or closed, as well as the humidity and temperature levels. All travel data are transferred via satellite and/or GSM to the control centre where they are evaluated. This technology enables continuous monitoring of container integrity and the container trust level. As only authorised personnel are able to open the container on its journey without generating a real-time alert, breaches of the container trust level can be flagged within 2 minutes.

SeCureSystem offers an alternative to onerous scanning procedures by using sensors to monitor containers 24/7, anywhere in the world and in real time. Sensor data is transmitted via a satellite link, without the need for any additional ground systems or complex server networks, to a ‘Trust Centre’ where the data are analysed and any anomalies found are reported to the customer or the security authorities. In this way, any unauthorised opening or entry into the inside of the container can be detected in real time. If the system discovers that a container has been opened without authorisation, the identified container can be singled out for inspection by a scanning unit.

Containers equipped with SeCureSystem give logistics companies a significant competitive edge in the tough international sea container transport market. The transparency on transportation of the container provided by SeCureSystem forms the basis for improving both the quality and efficiency of users’ process management.  As real-time data can be matched against nominal logistic processes, SeCureSystem is a fundamental part of innovative ‘Logistics Cockpits’ for shippers and forwarding agents.

The ability to monitor temperature and humidity in a container is another service feature, guaranteeing the quality (and hence value) of perishable goods, like foods or medicine.

Working in collaboration with its partner companies in the logistics sector, Eurogate and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Airbus Defence and Space trialled the complete system over a five year period in extensive trans-Atlantic tests. Since the beginning of 2010 SeCureSystem has been in commercial operation and has signed up initial customers from all relevant logistics sectors