Archives For X-Ray scanning

A Hong Kong woman was caught late last month crossing the border into the mainland with an impressive 102 iPhones taped to her body — apparently, Shenzhen customs officers became a wee bit suspicious after noticing the woman’s unusually bulky clothing and strange stride.

They ordered her to take a walk through the X-ray scanner, which promptly sounded its alarm. A check revealed not only more than a hundred iPhones, but also 15 Tissot watches that were taped around her chest. In total, the smuggled items weighed about 20 kilograms, according to an Oriental Daily.

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RWG-terminalRotterdam World Gateway says it is the first deep sea container terminal with minimal customs presence in the European Union. Ronald Lugthart, Managing Director of Rotterdam World Gateway,has received the definitive customs permit and AEO certificate for RWG, handed over by Anneke van den Breemer, Regional Director of customs at the port of Rotterdam.

Lugthart said: “Due to the high degree of automation at RWG, the introduction of a 100% pre-announcement procedure for containers and cargo via Portbase and the implementation of simplified customs procedures, over 95% of the administrative process is now completely digitised.

“This means that the administrative process can operate independently of the logistic process at the terminal, enabling fast and reliable handling.”Anneke van den Breemer commented: “As Dutch customs, our goal is to minimise any disruption to the logistic process caused by the required customs formalities. RWG and customs have recently been collaborating intensively.

“At the RWG terminal, optimal use is now being made of the simplified customs procedures. This is in the best interest of all parties: not just of the terminal and customs, but of freight forwarders and hauliers as well.”

By applying these simplified customs procedures, RWG is able to implement a fully automated gate process for road hauliers. This has great benefits for hauliers because no physical customs handling has to take place at the RWG terminal and thus no stop has to be made.

RWG adds that it is the first terminal in the port of Rotterdam to act as an Authorised Consignee, which means the customs transit will be automatically ended upon arrival at the terminal. This gives parties involved extra assurance that this transit has been cleared properly.

In addition to simplified customs procedures, constructive cooperation between customs and RWG has resulted in the establishment of a new scanning facility that is fully integrated into the terminal’s automated logistic process and operates 24/7.

Furthermore, nuclear radiation detection takes place for all truck and rail handling, and a high percentage of the containers arriving and departing by barge will be inspected as well.  Source: WorldCargoNews

SARS Customs intercepted a male traveller from Tanzania carrying narcotics worth over R12-million at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday (24 January 2016).

The bust took place when the 36-year old man, who was carrying two large suitcases, was asked to put his luggage through the Customs scanner. The scanner image revealed 10 clear plastic bags that contained a white crystal substance.

Upon investigation this turned out to be 10 bags of Ephedrine. The total weight of the consignment was 40.20 kg with an estimated street value of R12 060 000. The man has been handed over to the South African Police Service and he is expected to appear in court. Source and photos: SARS

rapiscan_638dv-320_version2__largeThe new Rapiscan 638DV 320kV is an advanced dual-view X-ray system with a 1837 mm wide by 1800 mm high tunnel opening for screening ULD type, ISO standard, and large cargo pallet type freight.

The new 638DV 320kV features high penetration, dual-view technology and explosives and narcotics detection alert supporting secure inspection and higher throughput for air cargo screening and customs applications.

Detection of Explosives and Narcotics Alert
Target™ and NARCScan™ are designed to assist operators in the detection of a wide range of explosives and narcotics respectively in real time during the scanning process by marking a potential threat on the X-ray image. Rapiscan detection algorithms are based on regulatory material analysis techniques.

Dual View Advanced Technology
As mandated by US and EU regulators, the 638DV 320kV utilizes a dual-view technology which produces two simultaneous images (vertical and horizontal views) of the scanned object. It provides a more complete image, thereby reducing the need for repositioning and rescanning and enabling rapid, accurate and comprehensive threat detection.

Ease of Use Providing Highest Throughput
With over 14 image processing tools and detection alert algorithms, the feature-rich software allows the operator to more easily and accurately search for contraband. Source: Rapiscan

DBN Relocatable ScannerThe following article suggests the need for greater consultation and collaboration between all supply chain parties. While the associated costs relating to supply chain movements is not the purview of SARS, these should be considered as part of the overall impact assessment in the lead up to such an implementation. For all intents and purposes this is an unintended consequence. Stakeholders should also note that the SA government has not imposed any fee for the scanning of cargoes to re-coup costs. Non-intrusive inspection (NII) capability is a tenet of international customs control intended to mitigate security threats and incidents of cargo misdeclaration, even legitimate cargo that can be used to mask harmful products stowed in vehicles/containers. The issue of increased cost of compliance has unfortunately been a trait of many international customs developments ever since the advent of ‘heightened security’ – post 9/11 and seems destined to remain a ‘challenge’ as we supposedly move into an era of increased trade facilitation.Joint collaboration between all parties not only assists in better understanding of the broader supply chain landscape but can also contribute to positive measures on the ‘ease of doing business’.

Freight & Trade Weekly (issue no. 2158, 10 July 2015) reports that Industry has called on customs to look into processes around its cargo scanners which they say are currently driving up costs.

Two state-of-the art scanners are currently operational at the Port of Durban and Cape Town and are part of South African Revenue Service’s (Sars) countrywide approach to risk management that aims for less intrusive inspections at ports and border entries.

The scanners were introduced in order to improve efficiency, with stopped containers being released more speedily than has been the case to date.

“It has however in some cases increased costs because it has resulted in double handling of containers,” said Dave Watts, a maritime consultant for the SA Association of Freight Forwarders (Saaff).

Before the introduction of the scanners all stopped containers were moved by shipping lines to licensed depots for examination by Sars. Once the inspection was concluded and the container released the importer or his agent could collect it using their own transport.

The new process however sees the stopped container transported by the shipping line to the scanner where it is either released or has to be moved for a physical inspection to a depot.

If released at the scanner the container is however still on the shipping line’s appointed truck and not that of the importer or its agent’s nominated haulier.

There are no facilities to move it from one truck to the other at the scanners which means carrier haulage moves it to a depot anyway.

“The extra cost comes in simply because of the double handling,” explained Watts.

In Durban, where the new technology scanner was introduced just over a year ago, several importers maintain it is cheaper to just have their stopped containers taken to the depot for unpacks rather than going through the scanner and not unpacking.

According to Mike Walwyn, chairman of the Port Liaison Forum, the issue of carrier choice also comes into play as the importer now has to use carrier haulage for delivery as opposed to his or her own transport.

Whilst the Cape Town scanner has only been operational for a week, some very real challenges are foreseen and increased cost is one of them.

“The issue is not necessarily around the scanner,” says Watts, “but the rules and regulations around the customs act that stipulates all containers remain the liability of the shipping line until released by customs. In other words it has to be taken to the scanner by the carrier.”

It has been suggested that instead of doubling the handling of containers the carrier should just make the final delivery of the container, but it is generally accepted that carrier cartage rates are much higher than contracted cartage rates. In some cases the cost is said to be four times higher.” Source: FTW

South African Customs has introduced non- intrusive inspection (NII) capability at the Port of Cape Town. The recent completion of an impressive relocatable scanner facility within the port precinct will now afford state of the art inspection services for customs targeted consignments for inspection. This is the third X-Ray scanner installed and operated by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

In March 2008, a mobile scanner was implemented at Durban Container Terminal. More recently, a relocatable X-Ray Scanner was implemented adjacent to the container terminal in Durban to allow for improved capacity and efficiency.

The new facility in Cape Town not only extends customs risk and enforcement capability in the use of such technology but acts as a deterrent against any possible threat posed by international cargoes entering or leaving the country’s ports of entry.

In addition to the new x-ray inspection hardware, SARS has developed bespoke support to allow scanned images to be reviewed remotely – away from the port area – affording customs increased flexibility, allowing image analysis experts elsewhere in the country to provide almost real-time analysis and support for the inspection team. The approach also meets SARS differentiated inspection case methodology which ensures that case finalization and cargo release does not rest with a single customs official.

Remote screening analysis is a practice that has already been pioneered in Europe with great effectiveness in recent years.

The benefit of non-intrusive inspection (NII) allows customs to ‘see whats inside’ the container, vehicle or tanker without having to break the seal. All of this can be done in a few minutes. It forms part of Customs overall approach to minimise the time taken to conduct a customs intervention and latent cost, damage and theft which plague conventional physical inspection of cargoes.

The new inspection site also enables SARS to increase its participation and effectiveness in the US Container Security Initiative (CSI) which was launched in Durban, December 2003. Under the CSI Agreement, SARS officials together with US Customs & Border Protection Agency (USCBP) officials – co-located at the Port of Durban – analyze and mitigate risks relating to any containerised cargo destined to ports in the United States.

Credit to Indresan Reddy (Customs Business Systems) for the photographs.

Related documents

Picture1The days of halting trains and unloading contents for inspection appear to be over at the Dutch Port of Rotterdam, where trained operators can now use high-power X-ray scanners to produce clear, unambiguous imagery of densely packed cargo in trains moving at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour (35 MPH).

Simultaneously, another group of operators located several miles away in a secure inspection office collect, analyze and evaluate the X-ray images for a wide range of potential threats, dangerous materials and contraband.

Because it all happens so swiftly — particularly as the containers are never unloaded or diverted individually to cargo inspection facilities — the speed of throughput increases exponentially. To be precise, Dutch Customs at the Port of Rotterdam can now inspect nearly two hundred thousand rail containers per year, or a single 40-foot container in eight-tenths of a second.

This is the future, or as in the case of Rotterdam, the present model of an enhanced global supply chain — ultra-high-speed rail throughput combined with ultra-accurate threat detection. This combination of speed and efficiency is an innovation that allows not only railways to be more secure, but the global supply chain as a whole.

Rail has long been an overlooked component of the modern supply chain, even though it is arguably one of the most important. Because of the nature of rail — with thousands of miles of unguarded track, often connecting countries — it has previously been challenging to screen and secure without causing a disruption to the supply chain. And while ports and airports typically get the lion’s share of technology innovation, all components need to be equally considered and secured to prevent interference and have a smoothly run supply chain.

For a long time, cost-minded operators have tended to view the security of rail cargo scanning and the efficiency of throughput as essentially two competing interests.

When minor security gains trigger major productivity losses — and when even small throughput disruptions can grind supply chains to a halt — it’s easy to see why rail lines have been relatively (and intentionally) under-served by global security improvement efforts.

As a result, one of the more popular rail security/efficiency compromises has been to implement a procedure for “small sample” screenings, by which only a small portion of each rail car or trainload is scanned for threats, dangerous materials, and contraband — providing a modicum of security without disrupting the core efficiency of the supply chain.

However, as malicious activities have become more prevalent and more sophisticated, “small sample” rail screenings have become increasingly insufficient. The United States Department of Homeland Security even instituted a 100% cargo-screening mandate at ports (though that mandate has since been retracted).

Accordingly, the industry has been eagerly seeking newer technology-based answers — ways to scan a larger portion of rail cargo without degrading throughput efficiency. The Dutch Customs’ solution meets higher inspection goals without detrimentally affecting the international supply chain.

Countless other customs and border agencies, companies, and national organizations are pursuing their own answers to similar and related security/efficiency challenges. For instance, rail operators worldwide are now experimenting with higher-energy X-rays for penetrating more densely packed freight cars. (When throughput lags, companies will attempt to condense their shipments into fewer cars, which can pose an obstacle for traditional X-ray scanners.)

In addition to the security factor, revenue is another motivator for government agencies to embrace this new cargo scanning technology. Customs enforcement of a freight rail (for international cargo lines) is extremely important to a country as contraband goods can cost governments hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax dollars. And smuggled contraband can also help fund organized crime and domestic terrorists, making it all the more important that rail lines not be overlooked when it comes to integrating cutting edge security.

In fact, a single malicious attack, occurring anywhere in the world, can devastate the global supply chain in its entirety, driving up prices and imposing major delays on manufacturers worldwide. By not being required to choose between 1) preventing extraordinary threats, and 2) maximizing the efficient of ordinary processes, the evolving technology can truly accelerate rail cargo screening and secure it too. Source: Rapiscan (Contributed by Andy Brown)

Rapiscan_m60UK freight forwarders have welcomed but are not surprised by the latest US postponement by two years of the implementation of new rules requiring all cargo containers entering the US to be security scanned prior to departure from overseas ports, with national association BIFA reiterating calls for the initiative to be abandoned.

Peter Quantrill, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said it was “hardly surprising” to hear the recent news that the US had delayed the introduction of the new rules “amid questions over whether this is the best way to protect US ports”, calling the move “a healthy dose of common sense”.

Mr Quantrill commented: “As BIFA has said repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has consistently underestimated the enormity of the task in hand relative to the costs both to the US government and foreign governments – as well as, importantly, the limited ability of contemporary screening technology to penetrate dense cargo, or large quantities of cargo in shipping containers.”

The deadline for implementation of 100% scanning of all inbound containers has already been delayed from 2012 to 1 July, 2014, and US Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who took over the role just six months ago, has now reportedly decided on another 24-month postponement.

BIFA’s comments follow the recent news of a letter from Thomas Carper, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which suggested that the use of systems available to scan containers would have a negative impact on trade capacity and the flow of cargo.

Quantrill adds: “Media reports suggest that the US Government now doubts whether it would be able to implement the mandate of 100% scanning, even in the long term, and it would appear that it now shares BIFA’s long-standing opinion that it is not the best use of taxpayer resources to meet the USA’s port security and homeland security needs.

“We have always said that expanding screening with available technology would slow the flow of commerce and drive up costs to consumers without bringing significant security benefits.”

He continued: “Whilst the latest news of a two-year delay appears to be a healthy dose of common sense at the US Department of Homeland Security, BIFA still believes that the US Government ought to take an even bolder step and repeal the original legislation.

“That would be the most appropriate way to address this flawed provision and allow the Department and the industry to continue to focus on real solutions, including strengthened risk-based management systems to address any security gaps that remain in global supply chains.”  Source: Lloyds Loading List

NigerianCustoms-BadgeThis is a landmark and very brave decision by the Nigerian Government. All countries operating Build Operate Transfer (BOT) X-ray cargo scanning services should watch this development with interest.

Following the expiration of the Destination Inspection Contract Agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Scanning Service Providers (SSPs), the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has directed the transition of Destination Inspection Service from contracted SSPs to the Nigeria Customs Service.

Accordingly, effective from 1st December 2013, Nigeria Customs Service has taken over full processing of all import transactions to Nigeria in accordance with the amended Import Guidelines of the Destination Inspection Scheme. Pursuant to this, all Scanning Service Providers (Cotecna, SGS and Global Scan) shall cease to approve new Form M, issue Risk Assessment Report (RAR) or perform Scanning operations for goods imported into Nigeria.

In international trade several destination countries require Pre-shipment inspection. Pre-shipment inspection, also called preshipment inspection or PSI, is a part of supply chain management and an important and reliable quality control method for checking goods’ quality while clients buy from the suppliers.

After ordering a number of articles, the buyer lets a third party control the ordered goods before they are dispatched to him. Normally an independent inspection company is assigned with the task of the PSI, as it is in the interest of the buyer that somebody not connected with the deal in any way verifies the amount and quality. This way the buyer makes sure, he gets the goods he paid for. Wikipedia

The SSPs shall handover all valid Form Ms and existing Valuation Database to the Nigeria Customs Service. However, the contract for provision of ICT infrastructural back up for the scheme currently being executed by Webb Fontaine is extended for a period of 18 months to ensure a smooth takeover by NCS.

As we enter this era, the Federal Ministry of Finance urges stakeholders and all Nigerians to give the Comptroller General of Customs and his team all the support necessary to manage a smooth and successful takeover. While no effort was spared in the build up to this process, we should all bear it in mind that transitions of this magnitude may throw up some implementation challenges. It will require the understanding of all Stakeholders to manage whatever initial challenges that may arise before the process fully stabilizes.

As part of the take-over plans, Help Desks and Dedicated Hotlines have been provided to enable Stakeholders and the general public channel complaints, observations and suggestions on the process to the Nigeria Customs Service. Help Desks are provided at Customs Headquarters, Abuja and other Commands across the Country. Such feedback can also be channeled directly through the following dedicated numbers: 09 4621597, 09 4621598 and 09 4621599.

The Ministry will like to convey the appreciation of Mr. President and all Nigerians to the Scanning Service Providers for services rendered to the Nation since the beginning of the Destination Inspection scheme in 2006.

Source: Businessnews.com.ng

Herewith a collection of articles on customs non-intrusive inspection around the world. True to form, the acquisition and use of such technology is not without controversy of some sort.

Spanish Customs to use ‘Full-body See-through’ Scanner at Frontier

Backscatter Van

American Science and Engineering’s (AS&E) Z Backscatter Van

July 2013 – The Spanish Government is to deploy a ‘Mobile X-Ray Scanner’ at the frontier to detect cross-frontier smuggling of tobacco. A Panorama Investigation reveals the mobile X-ray scan technology mentioned is one installed and operated in a mobile vehicle (van) – it is system that is potentially dangerous!

These plans are said to be part of a strategy to crack-down on cigarette smuggling across the frontier, which they say is causing untoward damage to the Spanish economy. The regional special representative of ‘La Agencia Tributaria’ (Spanish Tax) Alberto García Valera, says he has found it necessary to spend money and invest heavily on new technologies to combat fraud and tax evasion in places like the Le Linea-Gibraltar Frontier.

‘La Agencia Tributaria’ purportedly placed an order with the American company American Science and Engineering (AS&E) for the delivery of this very sophisticated, hi-tech scan system known as the ZBV S-Class.

The ZBV or Z Backscatter Van, is a mobile X-ray vehicle screening system, it uses technology known as ‘Backscatter’ which provides a photo-like images of concealed objects, such as explosives, drugs, currency trade-fraud items and of course things like cigarettes, but the latter not exclusively so.

The ZBV X-Ray Scanning equipment is integrated into a standard van type vehicle, usually powered by a Mercedes or Chrysler engine. The ZBV creates a photo-like Z Backscatter images showing materials by directing a sweeping beam of X-rays at the object under examination, and then measuring and plotting the intensity of scattered X-rays…if you’re in your car, your body will get zapped by the X-Ray beams!

Read the full report by Panaorama (Gibralter) here!

Axis Cams Integrated with X-ray Scanners Secure Korean Airport Customs

Korean Customs Integrated Control Room - Gimhae International Airport

Korean Customs Integrated Control Room – Gimhae International Airport

November 2013 – Korean Customs at Gimhae International Airport , Busan has introduced Axis network cameras and integrated it with the existing X-ray scanners for checked bags into one location. This has allowed Customs to manage its workforce more efficiently and enhance its monitoring capabilities through the “Choose and Focus” function.

An integrated X-ray viewing room has allowed Korean Custom’s management to divide the workforce into teams of two, and the accuracy of reading and individuals’ reading capabilities have been significantly improved. Since the reading staff has been grouped into teams, their level of fatigue has been reduced, and they can concentrate and read multiple X-ray scans at all times.

Network Cameras with panoramic function in each carousel monitor the CIQ customs, immigration and quarantine area that passengers must go through when departing or arriving. The cameras now permit Customs to accurately track and monitor travellers as they claim their baggage. All stages from Check-in of checked bags to their check-out are carefully recorded, resulting in disputes with travelers about lost or damaged bags can be smoothly resolved. The high-definition network cameras allow the entire route to be monitored for abnormal cargo. It is much easier to identify risks and monitor movement during incidents. Read the full report here! Source: asmag.com

Nigeria Customs takes inventory, evaluates scanning machines ahead of takeover

Nigeria Customs takes inventory, evaluates scanning machines ahead of takeover

Nigeria Customs takes inventory, evaluates scanning machines ahead of takeover

October 2013 – Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has begun an inventory and evaluation of the scanning machines with a view to ascertaining the state of the machines ahead of the December 1, take over date.

In an exclusive interview with Vanguard at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, service spokesman, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs said that consultants and experts including the manufacturers of the scanners (Smith of France) were all brought to carry test of the machines.

Adeniyi also said that more than 500 of the newly recruited men and officers of the service will be deployed to both the information technology and scanning departments. He disclosed that in the course of evaluating the machines, it was discovered that maintenance of the scanners had been compromised.

He added that the development will not in any way stop the take over of the scanning machines by the Nigerian Customs Service. The Customs spokesman disclosed that the maintenance of the machines were sub-contracted to other consultants other than the manufacturers.

Adeniyi further disclosed that the integrity of the machines in terms of maintenance have been compromised. Source: www.energymixreport.com

Nicaragua – Fixed Rate to be Charged for Customs Scanning (Fail!)

Port of Corinto, Nicaragua (Picture: Wikipedia)

Port of Corinto, Nicaragua (Picture: Wikipedia)

July 2013 – The government has recognized that it was a mistake charging for the scanner service based on the value of the cargo.

The presidential adviser for economic affairs, Bayardo Arce, believes the head of the Directorate General of Customs (DGA), Eddy Medrano, may have overstepped the mark in approving a contract with the company Alvimer Internacional y Compañía Limitada on the right to collect on the declared value of the goods that pass through the scanner system to be installed in the country’s customs offices.

“We have been made aware of this criterion of entrepreneurs and talked with President … and it is clear that a technical error was made,” the official, adding that the fee collected will be at a fixed rate as in the draft Law on Granting of Non Intrusive Inspection Services in National Security Border Controls, prior to the approval of Congress.

The concessionaire in charge of scanning services in Nicaraguan customs offices would recover its investment in 15 months and earn $220 million in the 15 year contract.

From all this money, 10% will go to the Directorate General of Customs (DGA). According to preliminary calculations made ​​by the Nicaraguan private sector, the company will invest about $22.4 million in the seven scanners to be installed in each of the seven Nicaragua customs offices, recovering its investment in just 15 months. Source: centralamericadata.com

wco news 2013The latest edition of WCO News reflects on the Secretary General’s thoughts on what the WCO has done, what it will be doing, and what will impact on its work in the coming months. The WCO will actively focus its energies on it’s four strategic packages concentrating on revenue, compliance and enforcement, economic competitiveness and organizational development. Together, these packages support the adoption and application of modern Customs practices and raise awareness on the vital role of Customs in international trade.

Featured articles include –

  • From borders to boundless: the digital dilemma in Customs – it discusses two questions – How does an industry traditionally focused on physical borders remake itself for digital commerce, which inherently circumvents such borders? and, Why must Customs agencies transform to address the rise in digital goods and services?
  • Intercepting next generation threats

    For those responsible for the security of our borders, transit networks, VIPs and high-profile sites, the threat posed by more creative adversaries is compounded by the increasing frustrations of passengers and visitors, when subjected to existing security checks. The article discusses a range of ingenuity which technology nowadays provides to these adversaries, and the elements of new Terahertz imaging equipment to assist border agencies in the combat thereof.

  • Beyond the Single 

    Window (SW) – In the 20-plus years since they first opened in Singapore and Sweden, SWs have remained a central focus of border clearance strategies, even though the majority of Customs administrations have not implemented them. Although design plans vary considerably, most SW systems support an electronic data exchange model which allows for (i) Single submission of data and information; (ii) Single and synchronous processing; and (iii) Single decision-making for release and clearance. This article considers 4 best practices which governments should consider when implementing Single Window programs.

The publication also includes country case study’s on Single Window featuring Nigeria and New Zealand, Sri Lanka Customs 20 years of dedication towards conservation, a feature on Argentine Customs and many other interesting articles. To access the publication – click here! Source: WCO

Port of Oakland - VertiTainer's  crane mounted scanner solution employs advanced passive scanning technology and sophisticated identification algorithms to detect and identify gamma and neutron sources in shipping containers as they are loaded or discharged from a container ship.

Port of Oakland – VertiTainer’s crane mounted scanner solution employs advanced passive scanning technology and sophisticated identification algorithms to detect and identify gamma and neutron sources in shipping containers as they are loaded or discharged from a container ship.

While the question of mandatory weighing of containers features high on the International Maritime Organisations’ (IMO) list of priorities, a recent post “Container Weighing – industry solution on the horizon“, reminded me of a solution which has been around for some time now, but for various reasons would appear to have been overlooked by authorities – or so it would appear. Readers and followers of this blog may well already have viewed the feature on VeriTainer’s gantry crane mounted radiation detection and identification system, called the VeriSpreader® – refer to the New generation NII technology page of this Blog.

The spreader is a device used for lifting containers and unitized cargo. The spreader used for containers has a locking mechanism at each corner that attaches the four corners of the container. A spreader can be used on a container crane, a straddle carrier and with any other machinery to lift containers. (Wikipedia)

The recent maritime disaster involving the breaking-in-half, and eventual sinking of the MOL Comfort gave rise to the question of overloaded container boxes. While government and international security-minded organisations have pursued methods to address breaches in the supply chain, it would seem that little ‘innovation’ has been applied to the problem – specifically in regard to minimizing the time and cost of routing containers via purpose-built inspection facilities.

At least three known radiation incidents have hit the headlines in recent times – namely Port of Genoa (2010), Port Elizabeth, New Jersey (Feb, 2013), and the most recent in the Port of Voltri (July, 2013). Each of these incidents warranted an emergency response from authorities with a consequential impact on Port Operations.  Unfortunately, advanced risk management systems and other security safeguards did not alert suspicion, allowing these ‘threats’ into the heart of the port, not to mention the radiation threat to port workers?

It could be argued that since the inception of government-led supply chain security, 2002 onwards, many of the world’s supply chains have built in ‘possible inspection’ into their export lead times. A trip to a purpose-built inspection facility will normally require diverting transport from its predestined journey to a land border crossing or seaport. Moreover, lack of predictability often causes delays with possible loss of business where ‘security’ measures delay the movement of cargo.

Several Customs and Border authorities have instituted ‘export-led’ compliance programmes which seek to create better regulatory awareness and expectation for shippers. While not without merit, these still impose an inherent cost to trade where in some instances, shipper’s are compelled to institute ISO-type security standards which for some require dedicated and skilled experts to entrench and maintain these throughout the organisation. So, while the development of increasing levels of compliance amongst supply chain operators will occur over time, what of government ‘Non-Intrusive’ inspection capability?

Port Technology International‘s Feb 2013 article – Future X-Ray Inspection Equipment to be based on Industry Standards – opined that “future developments in cargo screening are likely to follow a common innovation trajectory that is fostered by market needs and new technology, while being strengthened by existing intellectual property and evolving industry standards. Innovation is often perceived as a circular path beginning with customer needs that are identified by a technology developer. The developer then creates application technology in the form of products to meet those needs”.

Land and rail-based cargo screening technology has improved immensely over the last 10 years with improved safety (shielding), throughput (speed) and portability. Engineers have likewise realized the need to ‘fuse’ imaging and radiation threat detection technologies, all offering a more cost-effective package to the end-user. These are by and large the Customs and Border authorities worldwide who protect our territorial waters and ports. Yet, the approach remains ‘modality driven’ which has ensured a period of predictability for designers and manufacturers, not to mention their revenue streams. Given the container weighing – port radiation threats discussed earlier, perhaps it is time now for transport and enforcement authorities to consider technologies as developed by VeriTainer and Lasstec and define a specification for “100%” needs – could this be uniform? Not unlike Lasstec’s container-weighing solution that allows the weighing of containers during the loading cycle so not to disrupt the work flow, Veritainer’s VeriRAD solution uses a gantry crane ‘spreader’ to house its unique solution with specific emphasis to mitigate the threat of a ‘dirty bomb’.

 

Lodox Body Scanner Image-Case-Study-1-bright

Click on the image to view fine details on Hi-Res image (Credit-Lodox)

While not exactly the kind of equipment for a Customs Enforcement operation, I did feel suitably proud to punt a locally developed ‘non-intrusive’ imaging device given its recent international prominence.

The South African Media have been abuzz following the airing of the Grey’s Anatomy episode Idle Hands (on MNET), featuring the South African developed Lodox full-body X-ray scanner.

In the episode, the doctors and nurses of Grey+Sloane Memorial Hospital’s brand new ER are excited and amazed to have the Lodox Statscan in their trauma department. After a long wait of anxious anticipation, they are suitably impressed by the X-ray scanner’s ability to take an entire body scan in just 13 seconds, and what this will mean for how they treat trauma patients. Far from paid-for product placement, this was a story line independently researched and written by the Grey’s Anatomy producers. Our Lodox NA team made sure they had a real, working Lodox machine on the set of the new ER.

Some of the tech and application notes off the Lodox website:

Due to its unique X-ray system, scanning technology and design, it emits extremely low levels of entry and scattered radiation, making it safer for operators and staff.

For emergency trauma situations, the Xmplar-dr permits easy access to the patient to allow for monitoring and resuscitation to take place around the scanning process. The 13-second, full-body scan provides instant information with which to form a diagnostic image of the patient’s injuries.

In forensic pathology (medico-legal) applications, the Xmplar-dr provides an easy-to-use, fast method for assessing the entire subject’s body in multiple planes to assist with pathology location, particularly useful in the case of gun shot victims. The single sweep eliminates the need to move the subject to obtain all necessary views, making it more efficient and safer for staff.

Lodox is also ideally suited to imaging of bariatric and paediatric patients, and has found applications in many other areas of medical imaging.

The high quality, digital images, ease of use and reliability make the Xmplar-dr an invaluable piece of imaging equipment in any medical trauma or forensic pathology arena.

Source: Lodox.com