Securing a Supply Chain

Read this executive summary and introduction as a guide addressing security, its importance, the major players, logistics requirements, as well as the overall vision.

Executive Summary


An inconsiderate push towards a more extensive use of potentially costly technology, again, could affect the competitiveness of developing countries, should the lawmakers loose sight of the sustainability aspect.

Initially, good old basic common sense "pater familias" security measures and procedures in one's own backyard will often address the issue for individual exporters, importers or logistics operators' facilities, at least in the early stages. On this basis, more sophisticated sustainable technological enhancements can gradually be added that are proportionate to the size of the assets and the operations to be covered, as a result of a sound risk assessment.

To make a parallel, the ISPS Code does not mandate CCTV or biometrics, but does recommend fencing, access control, patrolling and appropriate lighting of the facility. Each entity must decide the most adequate technological enhancements it can afford, based upon its own specific cost/benefit analyses.

On the role of technology, the US Bureau of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) recently expressed that: "DHS (department of Homeland Security) does not believe that, at the present time, the necessary technology exists to adequately improve container security without significantly disrupting the flow of commerce "

A great deal of work is still necessary to harmonize the various technologies derived from inventory control solutions, such as RFID, Infra Red seals, GPS-like tracking or similar, in order to ensure their mutual compatibility and interoperability through international standardization before they can even be considered as solutions worth being generalized to the container transportation. For example, the following areas need to be addressed: handling of alerts and tolerance levels, radio frequency allocation and standards, requirements for the installation and operation of the reading, transmission, communication and interface infrastructures. Many of the above issues will not have been solved in 2009, and there still exist concerns about the vulnerability of the devices themselves against "e-tampering".

A pragmatic note to conclude on technology: "No one technology provides 100% compliance. A carefully selected mix to suit local conditions will become the norm"