14 June 2017

New Freight Container Scanning Technology Initiative to Detect Every Rogue Cargo from Drugs to Bombs  

European Supply Chain Initiative Teams up with Detection Specialist

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Shipping News Feature EUROPE — New state of the art container scanning equipment is being developed for the CORE (Consistently Optimised REsilient Secure Global Supply-Chains) European Research Project by one of the world's leading experts in detecting illicit freight, from bombs and biohazards to radioactive material and narcotics. Smiths Detection is designing both hardware and software for the next generation of container scanners, which will speed-up throughput and improve detection. The aim is to verify as quickly and accurately as possible whether a container holds only its declared legal cargo and is not harbouring contraband, weapons, explosives, drugs, or toxic materials.

The CORE project was set up to protect European supply chains, which it states are essential to both the EU's economy and security. The economic impact relates directly to export and import flows of the order of €6 billion which is processed daily by EU Customs. Annual losses related to security in supply chains have been estimated to €8.2 billion by the European Parliament and CORE has identified that the need for advanced X-ray analysis becomes more pressing in light of the increasing volume of container shipping and the demands for improved speed and efficiency.

Smith’s role in helping to improve supply chain security focuses on the physical development of a new scanning system, while other CORE partners are looking at additional technologies such as supply chain and supply chain risk visibility, seamless data interoperability, automatic identification and data capture, as well as tracking and tracing technologies.

The aim of the new hardware is to increase the rate at which containers are scanned, from around 100-150 per hour to between 300 and 500, which will give operators the tools that they need for faster, accurate analysis of images to prevent bottlenecks. Operator-assist features will include automatic detection of certain substances and the highlighting of suspicious areas within a container.

Having developed the capability, Smiths Detection is now working to integrate the technology into a demonstrator for factory testing and design review. The next stage, towards the end of this year, will be demonstrating the new system in the field in collaboration with Dutch Customs. The intention is that this new scanning system, developed on an existing platform, will become standard across the shipping industry.

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