Can RFID 'Smart Boxes' Solve Ocean Cargo Security Concerns?

Container shipments account for 90% of world trade and are growing at a 5% compound annual rate -- with 14 containers entering U.S. ports every minute. At present 95% of these containers are not inspected for weapons or other types of security threats, according to a study conducted by A.T. Kearney in conjunction with the International Cargo Security Council (ICSC).

Executives interviewed for the report believe that new technology solutions, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-enabled 'Smart Boxes,' could enhance container security as well as improve container visibility throughout the supply chain. "It now makes good business sense to improve security using advanced technologies such as RFID because of the associated benefits in operational and administrative efficiency. We found that most companies were already building a solid business case for deploying advanced technologies to solve the new-age issue of security and the age-old issues of reliability and efficiency" said Omar Hijazi, an A.T. Kearney principal who oversaw the report, titled, "Smart Boxes: RFID Can Improve Visibility, Efficiency and Security in the Global Supply Chain."

The study also noted that following security, supply chain concerns were reducing inventories, lead-time variances, stock-outs and preventing the loss of containers. "Unreliable data" due to manual data entry combined with disparate information systems was a major concern.

A copy of "Smart Boxes: RFID Can Improve Visibility, Efficiency and Security in the Global Supply Chain" is available from,3,1,98

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