Wednesday, July 5, 2017

CORE Develops New Low Cost Digital Seal for Freight Shipment

European and African Trials Demonstrate Success
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – A European Commission sponsored project designed to create and implement new security measures to protect the European supply chain has developed a new low-cost, digital seal. The Babbler has been developed for the CORE (Consistently Optimised REsilient Secure Global Supply-Chains) European Research Project by Dutch software specialists Itude Mobile.

Babbler requires no installation in the fabric of a truck or container and enables the integrity of the shipment to be monitored online via a smartphone app. The seal is broken if Babbler’s sensors detect light. Both the seal status and the temperature of the cargo can be inspected wirelessly via Bluetooth or a long-range radio option, LoRa. The LoRa network for Internet of Things applications is now widely available across Europe and enables customs authorities to access the Babbler log some hours before a vessel berths.

Babbler was initially tested for CORE by FloraHolland, a flower auction cooperative seeking to help Kenyan growers to reduce their logistics costs and simplify the import/export process. These early tests demonstrated the benefits of Babbler for organisations shipping perishable goods. Roel Huiden, Supply Chain Consultant at FloraHolland comments:

“Flowers must be kept at 0.5ºC to maintain quality, but when a container is opened, the temperature inside rises. Avoiding unnecessary inspections preserves freshness, as well as speeding up delivery. But the price of protection is critical in this market. Costly security devices available to shippers of high-value cargoes are simply not an option. For low-value goods, especially those that spoil easily, Babbler offers protection at an affordable price.”

Named after a vocal song bird, Babbler last year exposed a diesel theft during one test in Kenya when a refrigerated container of flowers was sealed in Nairobi before making the long road journey to Mombasa, thieves disconnected the generator for half an hour in order to safely syphon off fuel. The Babbler recorded the unexpected spike in temperature, revealing the time of the theft and helping pinpoint those responsible.

The system has now been adopted by CORE partner Seacon Logistics in a bid to establish trusted trade lanes around the world: that is, trade lanes where inspections are less likely because customs can rely on Babbler logs to reveal if a container has been opened in transit.

After six months of testing, Seacon are now to expand the use of Babbler into other trade lanes including the US.