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Retired admiral seeks secure container moves.

Carl Seiberlich and his battered blue folder are on the front lines of defense for America.

While in Washington, D.C, efforts are newly under way to create a Homeland Defense Agency, Seiberlich is already in the fight. In his folder are transparency slides that detail his plans to bring security to the nations's maritime arena.

Each day, thousands of containers enter the country on ships.

How can the contents of the containers be made more secure and subject to scrutiny? Seiberlich, a U.S. Navy admiral who retired in 1980, has the answers in his blue binder.

"In a war, you want to plug holes," said Seiberlich.

"You then adjust as you go. We want to reduce vulnerability and increase security. We also want to maximize freight visibility and productivity."

Seiberlich was speaking to an audience June 24 at the Transportation Research Board's Summer Ports, Waterways, Freight & International Trade Conference, in Pittsburgh.

A member of the International Standards Organization, Seiberlich is working with the International Maritime Organization on container security. In this capacity, he is the project manager of the Ship Port Interface Working Group's approved pilot program.

The goals of the working group, said Seiberlich, are twofold:

* First, evaluate existing commercial container seals, and

* Create information systems that can exchange data.

As a starting point, Seiberlich suggests using existing automation already in use by shipping firms APL and Maersk-Sealand.

"We want to use their systems," said Seiberlich.

"We are developing an international pilot in container cargo identification and tracking using electronic seals. We also seek a seamless exchange of data to permit use of existing databases on special intermodal maritime data dictionaries."

Soon, Seiberlich hopes the first tangible step in a pilot test of this system will take place.

On a weekly basis, he hopes to move 40 containers through the two international shipping firms in an effort to test the automation's ability to provide in-transit security.

Several routes will be reviewed, including: Rotterdam to Elizabeth, N.J.; Singapore to Seattle/Tacoma and Los Angeles; and Panama to Houston.

"Vessel security monitoring requires access to shipboard information," said Seiberlich. "Much of this information resides in various unconnected shipboard systems. We seek to integrate these systems into a fleet management system, which can then be monitored from shore offices."

If all goes according to plan, Seiberlich hopes a more secure system of container security will be in place at the end of 2003.

Participants of the Transportation Research Board have fully endorsed Seiberlich's concepts.

"Carl has been pushing for years for greater security of containers," said Bob Honea, of the National Transportation Research Center, Knoxville, Tenn. "Now the need is paramount."

Seiberlich's plan won the support of Raymond Gagnon, of G2M Communication Ltd., of Claremont, N.H.

The need is urgent," said Gagnon. "This is a common-sense proposal that will give us fairly fast results."

The presentation generated discussion about other security measures. One system under consideration, said Catherine Lawson, of the State University of New York at Albany, is the use of video to document a container's contents.

"A video packet would travel with the container," said Lawson.

"We want surety on what went in--the same as what comes out. The video would show the container loading."
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Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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