Successful final event of the research project ECSIT in Bremerhaven

Project consortium presents new inspection technologies to increase the container security in seaport terminals

Bremen / Bremerhaven, October 31st 2013 - The consortium of the German research project ECSIT, which was initiated by the Bremen Ministry for Economics, Labour and Ports and coordinated by the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) in Bremerhaven, announces the successful comple-tion at the end of the three-year duration. On October 31st, 2013 new inspection processes and tech-nologies to increase container security in seaport terminals were presented at the site of the con-tainer terminal in Bremerhaven, Germany, with around 120 participants. The event was hosted by the terminal operator EUROGATE, who was also involved in the project. The highlights of the event were, among other things, a presentation of the overall system using the example of the Bremerha-ven container terminal as well as a live showcase of individual components for inspection of sea con-tainers. In the outdoor area the guests learned about future measures for the identification of haz-ardous containers at the five stations "Basic Scanning", "3D X-ray", "Nuclide Identification", "Infor-mation System" and "Visualization".

Due to the increased global threat of terrorism and organized crime on the one hand, and the strong growth in world trade of goods on the other hand, the demand for security solutions in the supply chain is growing considerably. Terrorist attacks using radioactive substances in a freight container would have a huge impact on the global logistics chain. An explosion or the widespread release of highly toxic substances would have devastating consequences. Therefore, such attacks must be avoided just as effectively as the smuggling of dangerous substances or weapons.

The collaborative project ECSIT was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the German Government's national security research program. Starting in Septem-ber 2010, ECSIT’s aim was the development of innovative inspection technologies for increasing con-tainer security and an analysis of the implementation potential into an integrated concept - without affecting the performance of the port terminal. Another background of the project was to study the effects of a possible implementation of the American law “House Resolution No. 1” (110th 1st 2007 “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007), which is commonly known as 100% Scanning Law. On the part of U.S. authorities, there is only little information about this act, which requires an X-ray and radioactivity investigation for every single container. As things stand, however, it must be assumed that no more containers may be exported towards the United States from summer 2014, which have not been previously scanned in the port of departure. This means a massive increase of existing port’s capacities to check the sea freight. Scenarios in the context of ECSIT analyzed that the container terminal Bremerhaven handles over 1,200 boxes for American markets daily on peak days.

The active participation in the final event of the research project illustrated the great interest of the industry and the public on ECSIT’s issues. After greetings from former State’s Secretary Gunther Bonz from host EUROGATE and Eckhart Curtius from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Renate Bartholomäus-Lüthge, Deputy Head of the Department for Ports, and Prof. Dr. Frank Arendt, Director of the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, proceeded to explain the motivation and relevance of ECSIT. In particular, the involvement of all stakeholders and responsibilities within the maritime logistics chain is needed to respond successfully to security challenges and to imple-ment potential new technologies into existing processes without compromising the performance. Following the welcome address and introduction, researchers of the Faculty of Law at the University of Bremen illustrated the legal framework of the project. Law plays an important role, for example it is not clear yet whether the federal government, the federal state Bremen or a private provider might offer and finance the container scanning. Also the protection of data has to be respected when sending data to US authorities. Furthermore liability issues have to be taken into account when im-plementing the 100% scanning law.

During the further event, the participants could be convinced of the developed overall concept using the example of the container terminal in Bremerhaven. At first, the consortium outlined possible locations for the scanning facilities for trucks and rail at the entrances to the terminal and inside the operating area. This applies in particular to note the requirements of the terminal operator. For ex-ample, the processes should not be affected by the additional scanning. There should also be a lim-ited time window of one hour to evaluate the images and a risk management in the case of an alarm. In addition, the project team presented the scanning equipment and the inspection process in detail. First, containers with the direction USA are X-rayed using a two-dimensional basic scanning system developed by Smiths Heimann GmbH. Simultaneously the container content is checked for radioac-tivity. If a certain limit is exceeded, the container must be transported to specially provided shelves immediately and an alarm is raised. If the radioactivity is below a certain level - for example, there is naturally occurring radionuclide in ceramic articles or fertilizer - the container gets a more accurate analysis, the so-called nuclide identification. If the two-dimensional X-ray scanning process still leaves doubt, the concept also provides a special three-dimensional X-ray scanning developed by the Fraunhofer Institutes EMI and EZRT, which allows a more detailed mapping and testing of the most critical areas. Furthermore, the project partners SAP AG and dbh Logistics IT AG developed an ac-companying information system demonstrator that supports the cooperation of the parties in the transport chain within and outside the port like U.S. authorities, port authorities, customs or police and fire departments. The so-called Logistics Collaboration Hub links the existing Port Community System of the ports of Bremen with the scanning facilities of the terminal and the U.S. authorities to share security-related information. Recently, the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics con-tributed a web-based interface that visualizes the scanning processes interactively.

In the afternoon the participants had a look at the various inspection technologies in the open air area of the container port in Bremerhaven. For this purpose, the consortium showcased the ECSIT developments on the site of the EUROGATE terminal in order to demonstrate the exact functioning of the basic scanning, the 3D X-ray system, the radioactivity measurement or nuclide identification as well as the accompanying information system and the visualization. At the end of the presentations, the project team introduced a cost and economic feasibility study, which was conducted by Steria Mummert Consulting AG. Accordingly, the total costs for the establishment of a full inspection infra-structure at the container terminal Bremerhaven are quantified at approximately 35 million Euros. At the end of the event, a panel discussion allowed the participants to reflect on the compiled results of ECSIT and discuss implications of the new terminal processes and security requirements on the com-petitiveness of the ports of Bremen.

Although the practical implementation of the requirements of the 100% Scanning Law was not the aim of the project, ECSIT provides a full concept and far-reaching approaches to improve the security of export containers in German and European seaports. Therefore, the project consortium did not only develop hardware and software demonstrators, but also preserved interests of all parties in the transport chain, such as terminal operators and ship owners. In short, ECSIT made its contribution to support the port industry.