According to observers, some of the ships that appear in the table above (Alphaliner) with a flow rate of 19 official thousand TEUs could  in fact could also load a thousand more. [http://www.lagazzettamarittima.it/]

According to observers, some of the ships that appear in the table above (Alphaliner) with a flow rate of 19 official thousand TEUs could in fact could also load a thousand more. [http://www.lagazzettamarittima.it/]

Containership capacity growth appears to have reached a plateau for now, with no owners or operators looking to go beyond 19,000 teu. Nevertheless, technical experts expect larger containerships to eventually enter service, once infrastructure constraints have been overcome.

At the moment, though, the biggest ships in the pipeline are for China Shipping, with CSCL Globe due for delivery in November reported to have a nominal capacity of 19,000 teu. United Arab Shipping Co has 18,800 teu vessels on order; Mediterranean Shipping Co will soon be receiving 18,400 teu ships, while Maersk’s Triple-Es have a nominal intake of 18,270 teu. CMA CGM has recently upgraded ships on order, which will now be around 17,800 teu. What they all have in common is their length, just under 400 m, which is regarded as the practical maximum for now, according to Marcus Ihms, containership expert at classification society DNV GL.

Beam is another potential limiting factor, with cranes needed to handle broader ships, and the greater rolling forces of a very wide vessel making it inadvisable to load cargo on deck. Where designers can obtain additional capacity within those limitations is through the siting of the engine room or accommodation block. Moving the engine room, for example, can create as much as 250 teu of extra cargo space.

What is clear, he told the Containerisation International-Lloyd’s List Global Liner Shipping conference in Hamburg, are the economies of scale of the larger ships that are now being delivered. The slot costs of, say, a 21,000 teu ship, are as much as 10% lower than for a 14,000 teu vessel.

An 18,000 teu ship would still have cheaper slot costs than a 14,000 teu vessel even at 90% rather than 100% utilisation. Although ship designers have been talking about vessels of up to 24,000 teu, Mr Ihms told delegates that no carriers were thought to be looking beyond 19,000 teu right now.

However, ships of more than 400 m have been built in the past, most notably the 564,650 dwt ultra large crude carrier Jahre Viking, which was 458 m long. ER Schiffahrt chief executive Hermann Klein told Containerisation International that he expected ship sizes to continue growing, albeit not as rapidly as in recent years Dr Klein, the former head of Germanischer Lloyd and one of the first in the world to predict the arrival of 18,000 teu ships, anticipates that containerships will eventually exceed 400 m in length and so go beyond 19,000 teu. “There is no technical limitation,” he said.

But first, the ports need to be ready to handle the next generation of containerships. That will require larger cranes, dredging, higher bridges in some cases, and other infrastructure investments. Source: Lloydsloadinglist.com

Flag-Pins-Nigeria-South-AfricaWhat matters more: the size of the pie or how many mouths it has to feed? It depends whether you’re eating pies, or selling them.

Most of Nigeria’s 170-million people live below the poverty line, so many complained they didn’t feel any richer when the oil producing nation’s statistics bureau announced on Sunday the economy had replaced South Africa as the continent’s biggest. Nigeria’s 2013 GDP was rebased up to an estimated nearly $510-billion – a “pie” one and half times the size of South Africa’s, but feeding more than three times as many people.

But development economists argue that their attention should be on improving the health, education and incomes of ordinary Nigerians, many of whom struggle to feed their families. In 2013, the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Nigeria the worst place for a child to be born out of 80 countries surveyed.

“Really what matters in the end is per capita, how well our individuals are doing,” World Bank chief Africa economist Francisco Ferreira said after the statistical change in Abuja.

“I don’t want to rain on Nigeria’s parade … but what matters are living standards for everyone.”

In GDP per capita terms, Nigeria is looking healthier than before rebasing: per capita GDP was $2 688 last year, from an estimated $1 437 in 2012. Yet that masks growing inequality: at around 60%, absolute poverty in Nigeria is stubbornly high despite five years of average 7% annual GDP growth.

But are better living standards for all really what matters to investors looking to cash in on a big economy? On a per capita basis, Botswana, Mauritius and Seychelles are among Africa’s top five richest states. None has a population of more than two-million, so they are admired but cannot claim heavyweight status when it comes to competing with other African countries for the attention of foreign investors.

“Seychelles is the only African country listed under ‘very high human development’. But when did you last hear Seychelles mentioned during discussions on global political economy?” commentator Azuka Onwuka wrote in Nigeria’s Punch newspaper.

“A high GDP means external … investors pay more attention. The US and Europe no longer look down on China and India.”

Population Power

Nigeria’s potential is predicated on its large population. Economist Jim O’Neill notably included it in his MINT group of countries, alongside Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, which he thinks will join the BRICs (Brazil, India, Russia, China) he named as the emerging economies shaping the world’s future.

All have large, swelling populations, with a demographic bulge around the soon-to-be-most-productive younger generations. For businesses deciding where to invest next, a consumer market of 170-million beats the Seychelles’ 85 000.

“Size matters,” Oscar Onyema, chief executive of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, said. “Size means you will be able to do … projects you would not have considered in smaller economies.”

For retailers targeting customers at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid, a national income spread around more households – lower GDP per capita, in other words – might actually be a good thing, many economists argue. If you are selling washing powder or fizzy drinks, better a large number of consumers on modest incomes than a small number of wealthy. There is only so much cola most people can drink.

For Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, chairperson of Comcraft Group, which sells ironware, including corrugated roofs and pots and pans, Nigeria has massive potential. Comcraft is in 18 locations there, despite the fact that its Nigeria manager has been kidnapped three times by criminal gangs – a common risk facing businesses in southern Nigeria.

“Nigeria is just colossal,” he told the Reuters Africa Summit in Nairobi. “Everybody needs to eat. Everybody needs shelter … Anybody that brings in money needs a pot to cook in, they need a roof – so we are in the right place.”.

Inequality is Risky

Higher up that pyramid, living standards matter more. In this regard South Africa, which still has poverty but also a big middle class and an advanced consumer society, beats Nigeria.

Africa’s top energy producer relies heavily on oil, which tends to concentrate wealth in an elite at the top of the social scale – good for luxury goods firms like LVMH and Porsche, both of which have thriving operations in Nigeria.

But retailers targeting a broader consumer class say Nigeria still needs better infrastructure and a more diversified economy to achieve its full potential as a mass market.

“Until the country invests more in infrastructure, invests more on other activities outside of oil, until that starts to develop the economy … I think the potential is not like it is in South Africa,” said Mark Turner, Africa Director for Massmart Holdings, a unit of US retailer Wal-Mart. Massmart currently has two stores in Nigeria, with another opening in the coming weeks – compared with 300 in South Africa.

Turner said he could see the company opening as many as 15 stores in Nigeria, if the country could deepen development. Yet the market attraction of Nigeria’s growing middle class is already there – Shoprite just opened a store in Kano, despite the threat of an insurgency in the north, and a Massmart ‘Game’ store will soon join it there.

But Nigeria’s growing inequalities add to “political risks, as a result of perceived marginalisation,” said Razia Khan, chief Africa economist at Standard Chartered Bank. Unless something is done to lift the impoverished masses, the risk of social unrest, already being reaped in a bloody insurgency in the destitute northeast and oil theft in the south, will grow.

She said: “The pressure on the authorities to create some sort of social safety net in response will be significant.”

Source: Engineeringnews.co.za

WCO News Feb 2014The theme of this edition is predictably about “communication”. For a change I was fortunate enough to receive a hard copy (print) version. Nonetheless, it is more accessible to the masses electronically via the WCO website. The Secretary General discusses the role of ‘communication’ in the dissemination of critical information whether it be via internet portals, social media and the evolving myriad of technology based trade facilitation tools. In this particular regard, the number of emerging countries registering their participation through customs-specific trade information portals and the adoption of electronic Single Window platforms is becoming common place.

The playing fields between the developed and under-developed world are beginning to be leveled so to speak. Harmonisation and standardization via computer systems is beginning to mature to an extent un-thought of just a few years back. While mainstream declaration processing engines will still be required to ‘crunch’ the vast volumes of customs transactional information, it is the era of ‘Apps’ which will prove to offer niche service offerings to the business community. For instance, many vendors offer HS tariff search and duty calculators. Some Customs and Border Administrations provide traders with transaction status notifications and other advice via SMS. Above all this, the Secretary General still emphasizes the importance of the human element – to make sure that communication remains a two-way process which fosters cooperation.

Featured articles include an overview of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation. There are also several articles concerning communication strategy, business recovery and the role of Customs Brokers in the improvement of communication and cooperation. Read also about Single Window developments and a glimpse into the future of border technologies. Source: WCO

MiG-21_Fishbed_400x300Three MiG-21 fighter jets destined for Mozambique are stuck in Germany due to a lack of necessary permits. They are part of a batch of eight being shipped from Romania. Romanian company Aerostar is overhauling six MiG-21bis and two MiG-21UM trainer aircraft for the Mozambique Air Force and is also providing training for Mozambican MiG-21 pilots. Three MiG-21s were seen flying at Aerostar’s Bacau facility last year.

On Sunday Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that three MiG-21s were transported from the Romanian capital Bucharest by train in six containers and were to have been subsequently shipped to Mozambique from the Germany port of Bremerhaven. However, although the aircraft were declared according to procedure, their transport was done without the necessary permits and they were stopped. Der Spiegel reported that Germany’s public prosecutor will investigate the possible breach of arms control laws. The publication noted that Aerostar was found guilty of a similar incident in 2008. In 2012 German customs officials confiscated MiG-29 engines for Algeria and Tu-142 engines for India over the lack of necessary permits.

The Mozambique Air Force is slowly rejuvenating, considering that until recently it was almost entirely inoperable, suffering poor serviceability since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its financial support in the early 1990s. The arrival of the MiG-21s will give the Air Force a jet capability not had in years, as its existing MiG-21s have fallen into disrepair and are grounded.

In addition to the MiG-21s, Mozambique has apparently bought two Aerostar Festival side-by-side light aircraft and will get an overhauled Aero Vodochody L-39ZO jet trainer. Late last year it emerged that Mozambique’s Air Force would also receive two second hand Antonov An-26B transport aircraft after they have been refurbished in the Ukraine. Source: Defence Web

NRCSMore than 300 000 of non-complying products valued at R8-million were destroyed at the third destruction of goods function conducted today in Born Accord, Pretoria. The goods were seized during the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NCRS) raids and a significant percentage of the products were also intercepted at the ports of entry including sea ports and inland ports.

Addressing stakeholders at the event, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies said it was crucial to have technical regulations and compulsory specifications for goods in order to prevent sub-standard, unsafe, and harmful products into the South African market.

“The goods are not only destroyed to defend our consumers against sub-standard products, but also the South African producers against unfair competition from those who either produce the same products or more typically import from all sort of borders,’” he said.

Minister Davies mentioned the recent six weeks blitz conducted by NCRS in Cape Town, Durban and City Deep were 0.25% of all containers entering the country were inspected and close to R8-million worth of non-compliant products were detected.

Davies said to date, approximately R153-million worth of non-compliant and unsafe products were seized and removed from the market.

“As government, we are therefore committed to locking out non-compliant products especially since most of these products are being sold to poor people who often do not yet have access to the necessary information on safety standards and their rights in this regard,” added Davies.

Davies urged stakeholders to work together with the NCRS and the National Consumer Commission to ensure the safety of consumers and also to protect jobs.

The non-complying products which were destroyed range from steam irons, plugs, respirators, adaptors, paraffin stoves, swimming aids, chemicals, compact fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps for vehicles, circuit breakers, adaptors, power supply, cell phone chargers, paraffin stoves, plastic carriers, digital photo frames, television sets, electric kettles, hair clippers, motor cycle helmets, child restraints, tryes, seals, microphones, DVD players, extension cords to massagers. Source: DTI and NRCS

HS_HandbookThe Classification handbook (2nd Edition) is intended to introduce the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, commonly referred to as the Harmonized System.  It explains the origin of the Harmonized System, presents a detailed, precise arrangements for its management and describes additional publications attached to it.  It also contains the text of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, the Rules of Procedure of the Harmonized System Committee and Subcommittees and many other information. Visit the WCO Publication webpage to purchase on line.

ccsThe Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has issued a Proposed Infringement Decision (PID) against 11 freight forwarding companies and their Singapore subsidiaries / affiliates. CCS provisionally finds that the Parties have infringed section 34 of the Competition Act by collectively fixing certain fees and surcharges, and exchanging price and customer information in relation to the provision of air freight forwarding services for shipments from Japan to Singapore.

CCS commenced investigations after receiving an application for immunity under CCS’s Leniency Programme from one of the Parties involved in the alleged cartel. In CCS’s provisional view, information received during the course of the investigation evidences that the Parties were competitors and attended meetings in Japan where they exchanged information, discussed and agreed on certain fees and surcharges in relation to air freight forwarding services for shipments from Japan to other countries, including Singapore. The PID is limited to anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices involving the Japan to Singapore route.

The PID is a written notice setting out the facts on which CCS makes its assessment of the Conduct and its reasons for arriving at the proposed decision. It is issued to give the parties concerned an opportunity to respond to the PID and provide any other information to CCS by way of representations. CCS will consider all representations made before deciding whether to issue an infringement decision.

In this regard, all the Parties have 35 working days from the receipt of the PID to make their representations. All the information and evidence put forward by the Parties will be taken into consideration by the CCS should it issue a final decision in relation to the Conduct.

The case is the latest in a long line of investigations into the freight transport sector by competition authorities around the world over the past decade, a process that began with air freight carriers before spreading to freight forwarders, container shipping lines and rail freight operators.

The competition authorities in the US and the EU have issued penalties totaling more than US$2 billion, with the US imprisoning several senior executives judged to have participated in cartel activity. Singapore’s PID is limited to anti-competitive agreements or practices involving the Japan to Singapore route. Source: Competition Commission of Singapore 

Zimbabwe-emblem11To curb rampant corruption and smuggling through Zimbabwe’s borders the government is introducing new import and export licences with special security features.

Mike Bimha, Zimbabwean Industry and Commerce Minister says the local industry was being negatively affected by cheap imports into the country, some of which were being smuggled through the country’s borders.

“There are a number of fake import and export permits in the country, which is affecting our industry.As a consequence, my ministry has given a directive that all import and export licenses have to be renewed so that new ones can be issued that have special security features.”

“We are also working on a number of interventions to protect local industry.”

“We are looking at removing duty on raw materials as well as reviewing tariffs and duties with a view to restricting some imports coming into the country.”

“The reviewing of duties is not a once-off exercise but will continue in consultation with local industry.”

“We meet with industry on a regular basis where we discuss tariffs and we make the policy recommendations based on these meetings.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit is expected to widen this year with statistics showing that the import bill so far this year is now $8,3 billion against exports of $5 billion while imports for last year were $7,6 billion against exports of $4,43 billion. Source: TransportWorldAfrica

LRA Trade PortalThe Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has undertaken an extensive Customs Modernisation Programme aimed at simplifying the processes and reducing the costs of ‘doing business’ at the border. Earlier this week, the LRA launched the Lesotho Trade Portal as an introduction of the first portion of these reforms which brings a commitment to transparency for all border users on expectations and procedures.  The launch of the portal will be followed by an introduction of simplified border procedures supported by the implementation of modern computerised systems using ASYCUDA World.

The LRA has been reorganising its structure the past year aligning it with organisational strategy, and alongside that as a result of the modernisation, there will be extensive restructuring to promote efficiency and professionalism in customs and across the LRA. Staff members are undergoing extensive training to prepare for the introduction of the new systems.

To facilitate legitimate trade and enhance compliance LRA will introduce risk based controls to enable legitimate trade to pass more freely through the border posts and following the recent pilot project, there will be a full introduction of a ‘Preferred Trader Scheme’ offering additional facilitation benefits to compliant traders.

Through use of modern technology LRA will speed up the inspection process as they will be coordinated and organised from dedicated inspection areas. There will eventually be an introduction of inland clearance to improve service delivery and clearance time.

To protect legitimate trade and reduce market distortion, there will be targeted anti-smuggling activities. This will be for deterrence of illicit and illegal goods as well as to protect the nation from prohibited importation of goods.

The Lesotho Business Partnership Forum has also voiced its unanimous approval of the Lesotho Trade Portal. It believes this milestone represents a major breakthrough in the relationship between business and government. It reveals a level of transparency in procedures and processes which business can only welcome as a sign of a more constructive and open approach to the management of government affairs.

Similarly, the traders and general public will participate in an extensive publicity campaign with announcement in the media as to how to get involved and benefit from the reforms.  A key tool in this process to keep everyone on the loop, will be the News section of Lesotho Trade Portal itself. This will be supported by an extensive communications programme and an education programme targeted at regular border users. Source: Lesotho Revenue Authority

south_african_airportsThree South African airports have made it into Skytrax’s top 10 list of Domestic airports around the world.

Durban’s King Shaka International Airport was voted third Best Domestic Airport in the world, after Tokyo International Airport Haneda in Japan and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in China.

Cape Town International claimed the 6th position on the list, while OR Tambo in Johannesburg came in at number 10.

While all the airports listed in this category serve as international airports, the feedback from domestic travellers is exceptionally good.

Today.com reports that Singapore’s Changi Airport was voted the world’s Best Airport over all for the second year in a row.

World Airport Awards by Skytrax are based on 12.85 million customer nominations and the survey included 410 airports.

Passengers were asked to rate 39 key performance indicators, including check-in, arrivals and transfers.

Changi received a double accolade, as it was also named the best airport for leisure amenities, thanks to Terminal 2’s its spectacular ‘nature trail,’ boasting a cactus, orchid, sunflower and butterfly garden as well as a koi pond. Terminal Three also has Singapore’s tallest indoor slide. Source: News24.com

banner4Transport Forex, created by Inter Africa Bureau de Change, a registered bureau de change with the South African Reserve Bank has created an unique online banking system for the transport industry.

With branches at all of South African border posts, the company has expanded operations into Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, the DRC and Tanzania with offices on all the major border posts between these countries.

Transport Forex is an online ordering system where the transport manager can deposit money in South Africa into the relevant account therefore ensuring when drivers arrive at the relevant border posts there is enough money for them to pay the relevant duties. At the same time, this ensures enough cash is in the account for drivers to purchase fuel at key petrol stations or even pay for a service on-route in one of the partner countries.

Once the monies have been deposited into the account, an order number is sent via SMS to the driver who then presents it at the relevant Transport Forex office to draw the necessary funds required.

In the same way you can book and pay for diesel for your truck on any of the major transport routes in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, the DRC and Tanzania. Transport Forex has negotiated with partner fuel suppliers for better prices and passes this discount directly to the transport company.

A new Payment Service was introduced in 2013 for clients. Should additional unforeseen funds be required for an emergency while the driver is on the road then monies can be made available for drivers almost immediately. This prevents valuable time from being lost.

Transport Forex is also in negotiations with several government institutions so relevant duties and taxes for operators’trucks can also be paid through the system in advance.

To join Transport Forex simply log onto www.transportforex.co.za, and click on “Create Account”. Registration is free, and there are no monthly charges.

WB-GVC Slow Down TradeReal growth in global trade has decelerated significantly since its sharp recovery in 2010. Year-on-year growth in global real trade decelerated from 13.3 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2010, to 9.9, 3.1, and 0.5 percent at the end of the first quarters of 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively, while picking back up to 3.9 percent in the year leading up to the fourth quarter of 2013. This aggregate deceleration in global trade includes absolute declines in real trade for many product categories and regions. In the wake of the Great Trade Collapse of 2008–9, understanding of the behavior of trade in slowdowns has improved. Among the many explanations offered for the Great Trade Collapse, including explanations related to uncertainty, trade financing, and new protectionist measures by governments, there has been a significant focus on whether the emergence of global value chains (GVCs) in international trade, and their behavior, are a contributing factor in trade slowdowns.

For detailed analysis of the apparel/footwear, electronics, and motor vehicles and related parts industries, download the World Bank report. Source: World Bank

AlixPartners 2014 Outlook for Container ShippingThe 2014 outlook for the container shipping industry appears bleak. According to AlixPartners’ 2014 Container Shipping Outlook, the industry as a whole remains buried under a growing mountain of debt amid continued market turbulence. And this is hardly breaking news. With few exceptions, the industry has struggled for the better part of the past decade. What is new is the impact that that widespread financial distress is finally having on carriers and other key stakeholders: we are now seeing a number of profound structural changes to the industry—changes that may result in broad-ranging impacts on the major market participants.

For detailed analysis download the full report from AlixPartner’s website. Source: alixpartners.de

policedogPolice dogs serve many purposes for law enforcement agencies. Often times they are used for their superior sense of smell, but they are also used to apprehend suspects. As such, these animals face many risks. One, though, is not necessarily the first that comes to mind, and that is being left to overheat in police cruisers. A company called Blueforce Development aims to fix this problem with a sensor that alerts police when a K-9′s temperature reaches dangerous levels.

According to the Pennsylvania K9 Assistance Foundation, an equal number of K-9′s die in heat-related situations as gunshots when on duty. Blueforce Development believes that its K9 Life Safety Bundle can prevent these deaths from occurring.

The system includes a sensor that is surgically implanted in the dog that sends data on the animal’s internal body temperature to a small receiver attached to the animal’s protective gear. If the dog’s temperature falls below or exceeds a value set by the dog’s handler, the data is transmitted using any in-car Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G or LTE connection inside the squad car to Blueforce’s cloud servers. From there, a notification is sent to the iOS or Android device of anyone subscribed via Blueforce’s system to the dog in question. These notifications take the form of audible tones, vibrations, text messages, or emails.

Pricing information was not made available as of this writing, which isn’t that surprising given that the system isn’t being marketed at the general public, but rather towards law enforcement agencies. The company did announce that the package will include five sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, and volatile organic compounds. Source: Blueforce Development

The E-Thread tag, shown here embedded in a spool of thread (RFID Journal)

The E-Thread tag, shown here embedded in a spool of thread (RFID Journal)

Several industrial linen companies in the United Kingdom and France are testing a new RFID tag that is literally woven into a textile or fabric product. The E-Thread, developed by French startup Primo1D, consists of an EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID chip connected to two 10-centimeter-long (4-inch-long) antennas—extending from opposite sides of the chip—integrated into a thread (which could be made from polyester, cotton, wool or plastic) that is then woven into garments, linens, luxury items or industrial products. Because the thread is nearly impossible to visually identify as an RFID tag, the company claims, it cannot be located and removed or disabled by counterfeiters or thieves, and its durability enables the tag to last as long as the textile into which it is woven.

The E-Thread technology—for which there are 20 patents pending—is available in three versions: one with a wired sensor to track such things as temperature or motion, one with a light-emitting diode (LED) built into it, and a third with an EPC UHF passive RFID chip and antenna to store and transmit data when interrogated. The LED version is intended for cosmetic purposes; when sewn into a garment, a car-seat cover or some other object, it could illuminate when wired to a power source. The sensor-based thread could be used in an athlete’s uniform to track his or her condition, but would also require a power source, such as a battery, to operate. To record that data, however, the sensor would need to be connected to some sort of data logger or computing device.

The RFID-enabled version is initially being tested by several companies that manage and launder linens and other textile products used by hospitals and hotels. Pilots of the RFID E-Thread are slated to continue for the next six months, allowing Primo1D the opportunity to make any necessary improvements before full-scale manufacturing and commercially releasing the product during the fourth quarter of 2015. The linen manufacturers undertaking the pilots are reading the tags built into threads in a variety of products, such as bedding or table cloths, and are putting those items through industrial laundry processes, as well as periodically reading the E-Threads, to test their durability.

The E-Thread provides an alternative to other RFID labels that must be sewn onto or adhered to a piece of fabric or garment. The shortcoming of RFID labels, he notes, is that counterfeiters or thieves can see them and thus remove them from products. In addition, store personnel often remove them once a product is sold. When it comes to high-value luxury apparel, the concern of retailers and brands is that an RFID label will be removed from a product, attached to a counterfeit version of that product, and then returned to the supply chain for sale in stores. With the E-Thread solution, a counterfeiter would not know the location of the RFID chip and antenna, and would thus be unable to place them on a counterfeit product. Potential thieves would not be able to find the E-Thread either, he adds—since it cannot be seen—and, therefore, would be unable to disable the tags in a store or other location with the intention of passing them through a reader undetected.

For those in the industrial laundry market, such as linens manufacturers and those using the linens, the thread is more secure than a label (which could be torn or knocked loose during the laundering process). The thread can be included in the fabric at the point of manufacture, thereby saving the step of sewing labels onto items.

The E-Thread RFID tag works with any standard UHF RFID reader, and can typically be interrogated at a range of up to 7 meters. In the case of laundry management, a company could receive bags of soiled linens from a customer renting its products, and could then transport the bags through a reader portal. Rather than opening every bag and then sorting through and visually accounting for each item contained within, users could simply create an electronic record of all goods received. For linen sorting, users would want to put each garment through a tunnel reader in order to identify it, one tag at a time, perhaps by placing items on a conveyor that passes through that tunnel. In that way, they could separate items based on type, or according to the particular customer using them.

The E-Thread will cost more than a standard UHF label, but will offer the feature of being discrete, thereby providing anti-counterfeiting capability and other functionality that standard labels cannot offer. Because the E-Thread is designed to be rugged enough for industrial washing, it is also expected to outlast the lifespan of the product into which it is sewn. With that in mind, the E-Thread tag could be read at the time of a product’s disposal, enabling a company to access data regarding how that item could be recycled.

The E-Thread will be sold in the form of a spool of thread, with the RFID tag built directly into the thread material. The thread’s length and the quantity of RFID tags embedded in a single piece of thread would vary, depending on a user’s requirements. Source: Rfid Journal