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A new cargo transport unit security device has been launched onto global shipping and land transport markets after some 300 trial shipments.

UK-based manufacturer Guardfreight this week launched the E-Containerlock, which fits between the upright locking posts on a shipping container, where it is independent of the container’s seal, and uses a GPRS transmitter to provide regular position updates and send alerts if the container has been tampered with.

Information is sent to GuardFreight’s secure online portal, which tracks the shipment route and reports its current status to end users.

“It fires you immediate text and email alerts if there is an issue, and a complete online audit of the shipment integrity is also available,” said GuardFreight director Wayne Cressman.

According to current estimates, global cargo theft amounts to $80bn a year, and the new system is targeted either at shippers looking for extra cargo security, or their freight service providers who want to provide more secure services. The trials included sea freight shipments from almost every corner of the world, as well as combined road-rail movements across Europe and cross-border truck journeys between Mexico and the US.

The unit can also be used on curtain-sided trailers, GuardFreight director Andrew Harrison told The Loadstar. “We have a solution that allows it to interlock with the TIR cord,” he said.

Customers can either buy the E-Containerlock as a one-off purchase or take out a licensing agreement with a monthly fee to use it as and when required.

Mr Harrison added that GuardFreight was currently in the final stages of negotiations with a European distributor that would act as its sales rep in Benelux, Germany and Poland, and at a similar stage with another company to cover the US and Mexico.

He also said that it is in negotiation with the Tanzania Revenue Authority, which controls the country’s customs authority, and is looking to develop transit traffic from the country’s ports through the landlocked African nations such as Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, to ensure that goods are not stolen en route.


Indeed, its potential use by customs authorities and border agencies has also been touted, given the recent focus on illegal immigration into Europe, and especially across the Channel between Calais and Dover.

“Hauliers are generally taking very few measures and the industry should take much better precautions – our system can offer a lot of help,” Mr Cressman said.

The system can also provide supply chains with much improved visibility levels.

“Imagine if you are a warehouse manager and was sent a text message saying your next delivery is now 50km away and will be with you in the hour, which can simply be pre-loaded onto the unit; the system can also be used for logistics visibility and managing the flow of your goods,” he said.

Mr Cressman added that a returns system had also been developed to get the units back once the monitored voyage had been completed, thus eliminating the potential problem of lots of units being in the wrong place.

“We’ve built in a reverse logistics solution so that each unit is able to be easily and seamlessly repositioned ready for the next trip. This is achieved by carrying the necessary documentation and, in some cases the packaging, to make this previously complicated and costly process easy to complete,” he said.

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