Electronic Seal for ISO Cargo Containers

Óscar Diáz

The idea consists of designing and developing an active electronic seal for ISO cargo containers as an alternative solution to traditional mechanical seals by using RFID techniques linked to the Galileo system for increased accuracy and integrity, as well as to benefit from its certified services and availability. In fact, Galileo will be a very good tool for bringing innovation and progress in this field.

An active seal can register its position, container ID, ISO type, the cargo being carried, the cargo manifest number, an encrypted seal code ID and ship route information, as well as any information required when transporting dangerous goods. All data registered by the seal may be transmitted to third systems.

All this information, together with dynamic positioning from Galileo, will be the basis for implementing real-time tracking and tracing facilities for cargo containers within maritime transport, and in particular, for both short sea shipping links and motorways of the sea. These facilities may help to increase not only safety and security, but also reliability of schedule from shipping lines. Also, the system may help to implement voyage consultation facilities for users and road transport operators. Further to this, this kind of tracking may also help to simplify customs procedures.

Active seals can initiate transmissions as well as respond to interrogation. Therefore, active seals may travel under standby regimes, waking up by request from external systems, and thus optimising power supply time from batteries.

Expressed user needs for greater range and the ability of signals to wrap around obstructions in terminal operating environments prompted the international standardization groups working on electronic seal and read/write container RFID standards to add active RFID protocols.

The system will be able to handle immediate reporting of breach or tampering so that authorities may interrupt improper activity or act to foil criminal intent. Some technologies can accomplish this within a certain area, such as port terminals, but use of satellites is necessary in the field of maritime transport.

Portel Servicios Telemáticos, S.A.
Óscar Díaz
Centro Carga Aérea Madrid – Of. 609
Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas
28042 Madrid
+34 91 721 45 00