To combat terrorism—in addition to billions of dollars annually in cargo theft—the 33-year-old National Cargo Security Council rolled out international expansion plans last week involving a name change and new chapters on other continents.
The U.S.-based organization for supply chain security specialists, which will become known as the International Cargo Security Council, or ICSC, early next year, is helping its over 1,000 members explore new technologies in areas such as "smart seals," RFID (radio frequency identification) and logistics management.
The first of the expansion chapters, dubbed ICSC-Europe, will be headquartered in Belgium, said David Jones, chairman of the NCSC and vice president of loss prevention for Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc., during a press teleconference last Friday.
"Theft and terrorism are global problems. The U.S. and Europe each underwent more than $15 billion in cargo loss each year. When a member in the U.S. has experienced a cargo problem [in Europe], its been hard to know who to get hold of," said NCSC Executive Director Joe Baker, in a follow-up interview with eWEEK.com.
"[ICSC-Europe] will be a viable organization within a couple of months," Baker told eWEEK.com. Michael McIvor, European security manager for Estee Lauder Companies, will serve as chairman of the first ICSC-Europe Steering Committee. Other initial members of the European chapter will include Lucent Technologies, DHL Danzas, KLM Cargo, MRC Investigations and Encrypta Products.
Following the creation of ICSC-Europe, the next chapter to be established will handle the Middle East and Africa, Jones told eWEEK.com. "Then well move on to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Australia, and East Asia within the next year," Jones said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation first formed NCSC in 1971 to collaborate with industry on fighting cargo theft. "About a decade later, the group became its own all-volunteer, non-profit association. It was [then] comprised of 100 cargo security professionals, representing all functions in the supply chain and all transportation modes," Jones said.
The NCSC hired its first professional staff in 1998. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, membership in the group mushroomed to over 1,000, including people from six continents and 13 different companies, he said.
Jones also told reporters that the NCSC held a technology summit for its members last summer. "Some [products] are not quite there yet, but I think well see an explosion of new [supply chain security] technology over the next five years," he said.
Jones said that certain upcoming products will provide the "twofold benefit" of protecting cargo and managing logistics for just-in-time delivery.
On the cargo protection side, these products will use technologies such as "smart seals"—for documentation that a package or other container has been opened—and RFID, for wireless tracking of cargo locations.