Archives For Non-Intrusive Inspection

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Dubai Customs has introduced a sophisticated scanner that can detect 25 controlled and banned items in 25 seconds, in a bid to clamp down on smuggling. “The Ionscan 500DT can also detect as little drugs or explosives as one nanogram — which is one billionth of a gram” — according to Mohammad Juma Nasser Buossaiba, Director-General of the UAE Federal Customs Authority.

The highly sensitive scanner, equipped with HD touchscreen, is one of many other advanced equipment the authority has provided the Dubai Customs with in order to tightly secure all the crossing borders of the emirate. The new devices are in line with a memorandum of understanding signed recently between the UAE Federal Customs Authority and Dubai Customs. The Federal Customs Authority will also provide training to Dubai Customs staff on how to use the new devices, apart from the regular maintenance. Source: CustomsToday.pk and WCO IRIS

CT X-ray Imaging

Battelle has produced a White Paper on ‘The Importance of Image Quality and Image Quality Verification with Imaging Based Screening Technology’. It highlights how the quality of the images produced by a CT used for security screening is critical to the ability of the CT to automatically detect explosives.

X-ray systems have been used for civil aviation security screening for decades to provide a means to quickly and efficiently examine the contents of an item (e.g. cabin baggage or hold baggage) non-intrusively. Originally, such systems relied only on screeners to scrutinise the X-ray image on a display to identify potential explosive threats. Beginning in the mid to late 1990s X-ray screening technology advanced to the point that X-ray systems could automatically detect potential explosive threats and highlight them and associated IED components for secondary on-screen review by a security officer, thus enhancing the probability of detection, reducing the false alarm rate and increasing bag throughput. Computed tomography (CT) explosives detection systems (EDS), based on technology used for medical imaging, were the first to provide this capability.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was the first to implement this technology in the late 1990s. The 9-11 tragedy in 2001 led to the creation of the TSA and accelerated the adoption of this technology in the U.S. The worldwide civil aviation community has been slower to adopt CT EDS, relying instead on other X-ray technology, but is now committed to its use for screening, with deadlines for 100% implementation in different regions of the world ranging from now to 2020 and beyond.

TSA’s model as a government aviation security regulator is different from its counterparts in most other countries in that TSA not only specifies requirements and certifies equipment but it also acquires and deploys this equipment at all 440 U.S. commercial airports. In support of this full life cycle model, TSA has developed robust test and evaluation methodologies to ensure the equipment it acquires is working properly before it is accepted for use. TSA’s deep understanding of CT and its experience with testing security screening equipment in general provide an invaluable reference for the rest of the worldwide aviation community relative to the successful acquisition of CT-based screening equipment.

The automatic detection capability afforded by CT is a result of two key elements of the system: 1) the three-dimensional image rendered by the CT; and, 2) the automatic threat detection (ATD) algorithm which analyses each three-dimensional image to look for suspicious items which it then will “alarm on” and highlight for subsequent review by a screening official. The system’s ability to perform this automatic detection function properly is therefore dependent on both image quality and the ATD. The ATD is based on software and is certified by government agencies (TSA in the U.S. and ECAC in the EU) to detect specific explosive threats in quantities of concern. Since the ATD is embodied in software, it does not degrade once it is developed and compiled. The same cannot be said for the image generation capability of CT which is reliant on the system’s hardware and proper system setup.

With a CT EDS, image quality is a function of many hardware and software parameters that support and make-up the imaging subsystem. Key components include the scanner conveyor(s), X-ray tube, X-ray detectors, X-ray gantry, power supplies, and cooling systems. If any of these elements is not working properly it can affect the image quality and thus the ability of the system to detect explosives.

Image degradation caused by certain elements of the system not functioning properly can be so subtle that the naked eye cannot perceive it on a screener’s display yet such image quality degradation can significantly diminish the ATD’s ability to detect threats. Each vendor has their own image quality kit for internal testing purposes, however, these kits do not conform to a commonly agreed standard and may not be adequately sensitive to all relevant system elements that affect image quality. How then does an operator know that their CT is producing images of acceptable quality? The answer is a standardised approach to image quality verification that verifies all key system elements impacting image quality and that has the sensitivity to detect issues that could impact detection performance.

TSA has always developed its own test articles for acceptance testing to ensure products meet their standard of acceptance and to assure consistency across all platforms. Up until very recently the TSA test articles for CT were based on a statistical method that was reliable but that only provided a go/no-go result. This system involved many test articles that were logistically difficult to manage and that required regular maintenance. To address these shortcomings and to improve the detail and value of the testing process TSA, several years ago, embarked on a programme to develop image quality test phantoms that would directly test the key elements of a CT as described above and provide empirical data that directly (not statistically) assesses CT image quality.

This empirical testing system was developed cooperatively by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Laboratory, TSA, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), screening equipment OEMs and Battelle. It consists of two test phantoms, and mathematical formulae for analysing the CT images produced by the test phantoms when scanned. The system produces 78 image quality metrics that represent the performance of the key CT subsystems and components mentioned above. These 78 parameters are analysed through the accompanying software to determine the quality of the CT image. The test results can help diagnose specific CT subsystems or components contributing to poor image quality and the test data, if captured on a periodic basis, can be used for trend analysis to anticipate imminent failures and to optimise maintenance. This new standard has been published in the US as ANSI N42.45 2011. It will be published internationally in 2017 as IEC 62945.

In summary, the quality of the images produced by a CT used for security screening is critical to the ability of the CT to automatically detect explosives. CT image quality should be verified as part of the acquisition process for new CT and it should be periodically verified to ensure that the CT continues to produce images of acceptable quality. A new standard has been developed for worldwide use that can be used to perform this image quality verification (ANSI N42.45 (U.S.) and IEC 62945 (international). These standards define test phantoms and associated analytical formulas for determining CT image quality. Battelle now offers the phantoms and associated analytical software commercially under the trademarked name, Verif-IQ™ X-ray Image Quality Verification System. Source: airport-business.com (leading airport magazine)

The Australian Border Force reports that four men have been arrested in Sydney and Melbourne for allegedly importing approximately 254kg of cocaine and 104kg of methyl-amphetamine into Australia.

Combined, the drugs had an estimated combined value in excess of $186 million.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation commenced in December 2016 after the Australian Border Force (ABF) targeted a cargo consignment containing mining equipment which had arrived in Melbourne from South Africa.

ABF officers at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility examined the consignment which included industrial mining equipment. X-ray images revealed anomalies within an iron ore extractor.

It will be alleged that a physical examination of the iron ore extractor by ABF officers led to the discovery of 358 1kg block packages of cocaine and methyl-amphetamine, concealed within the equipment among a load of activated charcoal.

On 19 December 2016, the AFP commenced a controlled delivery where the consignment was delivered from Melbourne to a storage facility in Sydney.

Three men were arrested after accessing the consignment in Sydney on Sunday, 5 February 2017.

During additional search warrants on Monday, 6 February, 2017 on the Central Coast of NSW, AFP officers also seized a large sum of cash in a compressed block of AUD$100 notes. The notes are currently the subject of further forensic analysis.

A fourth man was arrested in Melbourne on Wednesday, 8 February 2017.

A 47-year-old (Watanobbi) man and 75-year-old male South African citizen were charged with:

  • One count of attempt to import commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.1 (1), by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and;
  • One count of attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.5 (1), by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

A 39-year-old (Doonside) man was charged with:

  • One count of attempt to possess commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.5(1) by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

A 38-year-old (Roxburgh Park) man was charged with:

  • One count of import commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.1 (1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

AFP Commander John Beveridge said the AFP and its partners are committed to protecting the Australian community from the scourge of illicit drugs through targeted detection and disruption.

“The AFP will continue to work with its partner law enforcement agencies to disrupt all forms of drug importation attempts and target those who believe they are above the law,” Commander Beveridge said.

“These arrests send a strong message to criminals who choose to import harmful drugs into our community for their own profits – you will be caught, no matter how creative you believe your concealment method may be.”

ABF Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania, James Watson, praised ABF officers at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility for the outstanding detection.

“Our officers have the expertise and technology to detect even the most sophisticated concealment. In this instance, our upgraded container x-ray technology has been able to penetrate through several layers of steel, machinery and coal/stones to identify these concealed packages.

“The success of this operation once again highlights how effectively Australia’s border and law enforcement agencies are working together to stop illicit drugs from entering our community, and how instrumental the ABF is in keeping these dangerous drugs off our streets.”

Three men appeared before Sydney Central Local Court on Monday, 6 February 2017 where they were remanded in custody.

A fourth man appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 where he was remanded in custody to re-appear on 10 February 2017 for a filing hearing. Source: Border.gov.au

sars-scanner-operations-at-ports-of-entry-1

SARS offers non-intrusive inspection capability at 3 ports of entry and exit to the Republic of South Africa namely, Port of Durban, Port of Cape Town and Beit Bridge border post. These facilities are intended to offer an expedited inspection service without having to physically break seals or de-van a vehicle or container. Given that the equipment offers high resolution  capability based on x-ray imaging technology, safety and and occupational health standards are a priority.

SARS has recently published a standard (SC-CC-35) for external parties relating to the scanner operation as well as health and safety standards. Source: SA Revenue Service

 

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

securityHong Kong Customs mounted a special operation at Lok Ma Chau Control Point to combat organised cigarette smuggling activities. About 1.1 million sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes with a market value of about $3.1 million and duty potential of about $2.2 million were seized. A 52-year-old male driver was arrested and the vehicle used for conveying the suspected illicit cigarettes was detained.

Customs officers here the other day intercepted an incoming container truck declared to be empty at Lok Ma Chau Control Point.

After X-ray examination and thorough inspection by Customs officers, about 1.1 million sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes in 83 carton boxes were found inside a false compartment of the container. The cigarettes were sorted and packed according to orders placed with a view to quick delivery to buyers.

A Customs spokesman said today (June 5), “The operation showed the effectiveness of the enforcement strategy, especially the escalated enforcement actions against smuggling activities at source. Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement action against all illicit cigarette activities.”

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offense. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years. Source: CustomsToday

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

Decision Sciences maintains that 100% container scanning is possible without bringingcommerce to a crawl (Credit: Maritime Professional)

Decision Sciences maintains that 100% container scanning is possible without bringing
commerce to a crawl (Credit: Maritime Professional)

The following article published by Maritime Professional describes a new technology, already in use by a major terminal operator, which appears to put the requirement for 100% scanning of all inbound containers back on track. The article has been doing the rounds on a social media platform with some sceptism still being shared on its viability as a ‘100%’ scanning solution. All the same its always interesting to learn of new innovations. I guess the US Treasury has spent billions sponsoring these types of tech-development so as to vindicate its original threat to the rest of the world! (For the PDF version please click here!)

In July 2007, U.S. legislators passed a law requiring 100% scanning of U.S. bound containers at their last foreign ports by the year 2012. That federal requirement nearly died a quick death recently but has received a reprieve of sorts. Originally scheduled to take effect July 1, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in May of 2012 notified Congress that she would use her authority under the 2007 law to delay implementation by two years. Napolitano said systems available to scan containers would result in a negative impact on trade capacity and the flow of cargo, and that some foreign ports do not have the physical characteristics needed to install such systems. If the last part was true then, however, it may not necessarily be the case now.

As reported in our 1Q 2012 edition of MarPro, pilot efforts were established at several foreign ports under the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) targeting in-bound containers for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) prior to loading. Objections by trading partners surfaced and were confirmed by the Government Accounting Office (GAO).

In her testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in part, “DHS has learned a great deal from these pilots, but it has also encountered a number of steep challenges. Some of these issues relate to the limits on current technology. Technology doesn’t exist right now to effectively and automatically detect suspicious anomalies and cargo. This makes scanning difficult and time-consuming. …Therefore, DHS is compelled to seek the time extensions authorized by law with respect to the scanning provision.” At the time DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) had already spent nearly $10 million on efforts to develop a container security device; to no avail.

New Technology: New Hope for Compliance
As the U.S. government continues to try to find a solution to its own scanning requirements, it also continues to fund testing when a promising solution comes to light. In September of last year, Decision Sciences International Corporation (DSIC), a provider of security and detection systems, announced that it was awarded a $2.7 million contract by the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) for an Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) of its Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS). Under the contract, DSIC supports government testing of MMPDS intended to evaluate the system’s effectiveness and readiness for transition to production. Before that, Decision Sciences was awarded another contract – this one worth $400,000 – by the U.S. Department of Defense to test muon tomography based scanning systems capable of detecting explosives. 

The Multi-Mode Passive Detection System – how it works
Based in Chantilly, VA, with a development/production facility in Poway, CA, DSIC and its 27 employees and contractors hope to bring together hardware and software development, systems integration and cutting edge science to improve the safety and security of global commerce. Based on patented technology invented by scientists at the Alamos National Laboratory, the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS) was developed with private sector investment and expertise. MMPDS is billed as a safe, effective and reliable automated scanning device for detecting unshielded to heavily shielded nuclear and radiological threats. In reality, and as MarPro found out during a focused site visit in Freeport, Bahamas, the system does so much more.

DSIC’s passive scanning technology uses naturally occurring cosmic ray muons to detect potential threats in cargo, vehicles and other conveyances. DSIC President and CEO Dr. Stanton D. Sloane explains, “Equipment can generally be classified into two main categories; active and passive. Active systems include x-ray and/or radiation technologies. In other words, they add some sort of radiation or energy to the environment. Our system is 100 percent passive; we don’t generate any additional energy. We simply use the existing cosmic ray ‘muons’ to do the scanning. When cosmic rays hit the upper atmosphere, they create showers of atomic particles. One of the particles is a muon. High in mass, muons travel at near the velocity of light. Because of this, muons penetrate materials … even very dense materials … readily.

Normal cosmic radiation is 5000 muons per minute and penetrates through lead, steel, concrete and just about anything else. Sloane adds, “That’s really the breakthrough technology. We have upper and lower detectors. As the muons go through the upper detector we calculate their trajectory. As they go through the bottom detector, we calculate their trajectory and we look for a change in that track. The angular change of the track is a function of the density of the material that the muons go through. The denser the material that the muons penetrate, the larger the angular change.”

Beyond the efficacy of the system is its vivid imagery of the inside of the container it is scanning. With x-ray machines, if something is found, the container must be taken to the side, analysis performed and delays to the container magnified. Not so with Decision Sciences technology: false positives are eliminated because the density of typical items – and the dangerous ones too – can be catalogued.

Continue Reading…

WCO News - No.70 February 2013No introduction needed here. This Edition of WCO News focusses on innovation with a collection of articles from around the globe. In addition to the highlights listed above, check out what’s happening in the world of Non-Intrusive Inspection.

  • Serbian Customs showcases its new Command and Control centre and anti-smuggling capability demonstrating efficient distribution of information between its head quarters and border-crossings and use of mobile X-ray scanners.
  • Dutch Customs discusses its foray into the unique territory of rail scanning, having recently acquired the worlds fastest X-ray rail scanner.
  • The head of Rapiscan Systems presents the changing requirements of customs cargo screening, particularly the emergence of ‘fused technologies’ that maximise the capabilities of non-intrusive detection and material discrimination.

Singapore Customs leads the way in the exploration and promotion of ‘green’ technologies having facilitated two R&D projects on eco-friendly vehicles.

Certificates of origin also feature. As part of its commitment to further facilitate trade by strengthening origin compliance through innovative thinking, the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation (ICC WCF) recently created an international certificate of origin certification and accreditation chain which will, as a first step, concentrate on non-preferential certificates of origin (COs) – the most common certificates issued by Chambers, and the only ones Chambers are authorized to issue in most countries. Learn how they intend to implement the Certificate of Origin (CO)  certification and accreditation chain scheme and what the underlying benefits are.

Also, learn how the EU proposes to strengthen supply chain security. Click Here! to access the magazine.

The Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi, said that ports users would henceforth complete their business transactions within 24 hours. Speaking at the formal unveiling of the gantry scanner procured by Societe Generele Surveillance (SGS) Nigeria at Onne, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, he said the new scanning facilities would boost the 48-hour target for clearance of goods at the ports, noting that it would complement government’s efforts toward reducing the cost of doing business at the ports.

Special training for a select team of 80 NCS officers has been concluded. The team is expected to take over services and operations in the Destination Inspection scheme as from January 1, 2013. The training covered all aspects of the DI activities being handled by SGS for NCS with emphasis on actual risk analysis and processing of the importer’s final document resulting in classification and valuation opinion.

Managing Director of SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited, Mr. Nigel Balchin, in his address at the occasion, said the mobile cargo scanners were capable of scanning about 34 trucks per hour as against 16 per hour by the fixed cargo scanners. Each had double tunnel that enabled it scan two trucks at the same time with equal image quality as the fixed scanner. “At SGS we are committed to quality service delivery. We are very glad to be part of this success story and we look forward to Nigeria Customs Service taking charge of the DI programme. The knowledge you have acquired is for the benefit of Nigeria Customs Service and ultimately that of the Nigerian economy. We wish you the best in your future endeavours”, he said.

The image quality of the relocatable gantry scanners is on par with a fixed scanner. Trucks remain stationary during scanning (the scanner moves on rails) unlike a fixed scanner where the truck is pulled through the scanner on a conveyor that’s more vulnerable to maintenance issues. The scanner is mounted above ground unlike a fixed scanner where one of the detectors is four metres underground. In addition, a relocatable gantry scanner can be re-deployed to an alternative site, in a relatively short time, in case of any expansion or new development.

SGS is one of the service providers contracted by the Federal Government to assist the NCS facilitate trade through risk management and use of non-intrusive inspection (x-ray cargo scanning) of imports routed through the nation’s air and sea ports as well as approved borders. The company is currently providing cargo scanning services in Bahrain, Cameroon, Haiti, Madagascar, Uruguay and has completed provision of scanning services in Gambia, Kosovo and Mexico.  Source: Leadership.ng

Over the next five years, Homeland Security Research Corporation analysts forecast a growth at a CAGR of 10% of the global X-ray screening market, led by a dramatic expansion of the Chinese civil aviation (two out of three new airport projects are in mainland China) and internal security funding. Other key markets are terror-troubled India and the replacement market of the US and Europe.

Despite years of cutting edge weapon and explosives screening technologies RDT&E, there is no competitive modality on the horizon which challenges the cost-performance of 2D X-ray screening technologies. The global X-ray security screening market (including systems sales, service, and upgrades) is forecast to grow from $1.2 billion in 2011 to $1.9 billion by 2016.

The new report is the most comprehensive review of the multibillion dollar global X-ray security screening market available today. It analyses and forecasts the market by application, by geography and by business transaction. The report, segmented into 50 submarkets, offers for each submarket 2010-2011 data and 2012-2016 forecasts and analysis. In more than 300 pages, 90 tables and 150 figures, the report analyses and projects the 2012-2016 market and technologies from several perspectives, including:

  • Market forecast by application: Air cargo, Airport-cabin baggage, Secured facilities, Postal items, Supply chain cargo and People screening AIT
  • National and regional markets
  • X-Ray Technologies: conventional, backscatter, multi-view, coherent and dual energy x-ray
  • Systems sales, post warranty service and upgrade markets
  • Competitive environment: 16 leading vendors and their products
  • Market analysis: e.g., market drivers & inhibitors, SWOT analysis
  • Business environment: e.g., competitive analysis
  • Current and pipeline technologies

Source: Homeland Security Research Corporation

Believe it or not, devices used to see through walls are far from revolutionary. Reportedly, Physical Optics Corporation has concocted a prototype gun that utilizes the same method of viewing that a lobster does to see what’s ahead in murky waters. The LEXID (Lobster Eye X-ray Imaging Device) functions by “radiating objects with tiny amounts of X-ray energy,” subsequently allowing its user to see behind steel, wood or concrete. According to David Throckmorton, a project manager in Homeland Security’s Science and Technology division, the resulting images are beamed on a small screen and aren’t exactly drool-worthy, but they do allow one to make out a stash of weapons or a crouching enemy.

The price is unknown as it’s still a prototype, but the creators hope to make it cheap enough for exterminators and contractors to purchase and use. Note, the capability of seeing through walls is not necessarily just for use on weapons. It’s got some useful commercial applications such as pest control, where it can be built into a gun for shooting pesticide instead of a bullet. For the Customs and Border official, no doubt, there are equally varying applications of use. One could just imagine students getting into all sorts of trouble if one of these floated into the locker room.

HCVS Fixed X-Ray scanning tunnelSecurity solutions specialist Smiths Detection has received a multi-million Euro order from Nigeria for its dual view, high energy X-ray container scanner, which includes a state-of-the-art material discrimination system. The order was placed by Global Scan systems Ltd and forms part of the Destination Inspection Programme (DIP) established by the Nigerian Ministry of Finance for the Customs Authorities of Nigeria. The stationary scanner, which will be the most advanced system of its kind in West Africa, will be deployed at the customs and border checkpoint between Nigeria and Benin.

The HCVS (Heimann Cargo Vision System) with material discrimination features X-ray images that distinguish between organic and inorganic substances. The associated colour coding greatly helps in the detection of threat objects such as weapons, explosives and drugs.

The HCVS is the most powerful tool in Smiths Detection’s cargo inspection product portfolio. It is permanently installed on a dedicated site, providing a swift and non-intrusive inspection procedure for every part of fully loaded trucks and containers

Technical features of the scanner
• Stationary X-ray system for the inspection of fully loaded trucks and containers
• State-of-the-art technology for outstanding image quality
• Ideal for maritime ports, border crossings and airports dealing with heavy traffic
• Easy and fast processing with low staffing requirements
• viZual technology for real organic/inorganic material discrimination
• Top of the line system for manifest verification
• Detection capacity reaching 100%
Optional Features
• Automatic Radioactive Material Detection (ARD)
• Discrimination high energy
• Single of dual view technology
• Single or dual tunnel version
• Available in 6MeV & 9MeV (Mega electron volt)

Source: Smiths Detection

Rhino horn bust, Hong Kong CustomsOn 14 November 2011 Hong Kong Customs seized 33 rhino horns (weighing 86.54 kg), 758 ivory chopsticks (13.22 kg) and 127 ivory bracelets (9.2 kg) with a value of about 17.4 million Hong Kong dollars (over 1.6 million euro). Acting on risk assessment, a container on board a vessel arriving from Cape Town in South Africa and declared as containing “scrap plastic” was selected for inspection by Customs officers. Under x-ray examination, officers discovered the contraband concealed inside a package of plastic scrap placed at the rear end of the container.

This is one of the biggest seizures of rhino horns reported by Customs. Over the past two years, rhino horns have been seized by Customs in Belgium, China, Ireland, Kenya, Portugal, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Early November statistics from the South Africa National Parks authority show that 341 rhinos have been lost to poaching so far in 2011, compared to a record total of 333 last year. Most rhino horns are smuggled to Asia in particular China and Vietnam, where the unfounded rumour persists that rhino horn can cure cancer! This record seizure follows another made by Hong Kong Customs on 29 August 2011, when 794 pieces of African ivory tusks (1,898 kg) found inside a container were seized. Source: WCO.

A single bust like this invokes a number of things. Firstly an outrage amongst the general populace of the cruelty and greed concerned with the crime, and secondly, elation amongst law enforcement officers in making the bust. A bust such as this reinforces confidence in the initial commitment to procure inspection technology.