Can RFID be used as a standard for sea container identification?

The arguments against it are that it's too expensive, that there are no application standards - there won't be an industry consensus in the near future
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The arguments against it are that it’s too expensive, that there are no application standards – there won’t be an industry consensus in the near future

Equipping sea containers around the world with RFID tags is seen as unachievable by the majority of stakeholders: it is too expensive, there are no application standards – this has been the general opinion for many years. Shipping companies and terminal operators would have to come to an industry agreement to achieve the widespread introduction of container tags or electronic seals – and this does not seem possible. The shipping companies, who often own the containers, gain no immediate benefit from using RFID. On the other hand, the terminal operators and the logistics providers could benefit.

The view of terminal operators: if RFID is employed, it should be done consistently

Terminal operators can benefit from regular container identification on their premises. Covering certain port operations with RFID would be beneficial in every way and for numerous processes, ranging from faster processing at the gate, the automatic logging of the container ID, comparison with the shipping documents, and the tracking of containers in the port area to new services at the terminal, says Torsten Neubert, HPC Hamburg Port Consulting. “Port terminal operators feel that RFID technology is only worthwhile if the RFID container is used as a standard. This would require the RFID tag to be at the container right from the start. But the main question remains, who programmes the tag with the transport-related information?”

Freight carriers are demanding an RFID security seal for faster container handling

The association of Hamburg freight carriers are asking for RFID security seals as an alternative marker: “We want to persuade freight carriers to use RFID seals for goods export”, says Managing Director Stefan Sass. Combined with increased OCR-Gate use at the terminal, RFID seals could accelerate the container handling at the gate because there would be no more need for manual testing. “Up to now, there has been a visual inspection of the container seal at the OCR Gate, which is very time consuming. Checking the label and the papers can take several minutes for each container”, continues Stefan Sass.

Who bears the cost, and who makes the first move?

What about standards and security?

Read the complete article at "RFID im Blick" Online or download the English "RFID im Blick" October Edition.

www.rfid-im-blick.com/usecases

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