SC-integrity, Insurance Firm Team to Protect Cargo

 
 
By Jacqueline Emigh  |  Posted 2005-11-09
 
 
 
SC-integrity, an enterprise supplier of wireless-enabled supply chain security services, is teaming up with Lexington Insurance Company on a new offering touted as the first to combine technology with financial insurance in the fight against cargo theft.

Cargo loss represents a $50 billion menace every year, according to Ben Armistead of GTU (Greenwich Transportation Underwriters Inc.), broker representative for both SC-integrity and Lexington.

Under the partnership deal unveiled this week, Lexington Insurance has essentially instituted the use of SC-integritys products and services as a proviso for customers who want insurance against cargo loss, Armistead said in an interview.

Less than two years after the companys startup, SC-integrity has already signed up customers that include big overnight shippers, manufacturers, transport companies and government agencies, according to Denis duNann, the companys CEO.

Specifically, SC-integritys customer list includes Federal Express, Williams-Sonoma Inc.; Yellow Freight, TJ Maxx Inc., and the FBI, for example.

SC-integrity has already helped customers retrieve nearly $7 million in stolen goods, duNann said in another interview. Use of the vendors technology has led to several arrests.

Click here to read more about General Electric Securitys efforts to offer secure cargo containers.

For instance, SC-integrity recently helped to pinpoint two law enforcement officials from Cook County, Ill., as culprits in a cargo theft incident involving shipments on route from Memphis, Tenn., to Chicago, duNann said.

In many other situations, employees of either the product distributor or third-party transportation carrier turn out to be to blame, Armistead said.

Makers of PCs and consumer electronics goods routinely ship truckloads of goods valued at $1 million and up, according to the underwriting expert.

"But many truckers dont have the wherewithal to stop theft. And [distributors] have been hard-pressed to insure truckloads for more than $250,000 on some commodities."

Armistead foresees use of the combined solution as a tool against terrorism and product counterfeiting, as well.

"Companies [importing] goods from other countries want to be able to know if a shipment has been corrupted at the point of origin," he said.

SC-integritys current product lineup includes SC-tracker and SC-intransit, according to duNann.

SC-tracker consists of small, portable devices enabled with cellular-assisted GPS.

"[The devices] can be hidden inside buildings, or placed covertly in [shipping] cartons," according to the CEO.

Through its SC-intransit service, SC-integrity hosts and manages software for tracking the locations of the devices.

The portable devices use cellular and GPS satellite-based communications to report to SC-integrity about their whereabouts every 30 seconds.

The service also includes an alert function, which provides immediate notification by a choice of phone or e-mail if either a vehicle or a carton within the vehicle moves beyond a stipulated set of boundaries known as the "geofence."

DuNann likened the supply chain security system in some ways to a home security system.

"Just as homeowners with home security systems are able to get discounts on home insurance, shippers who use SC-integrity can now get discounts on cargo insurance," he said.

Ultimately, duNann eyes creation of a third piece in the SC-integrity system.

Through an upcoming database dubbed SC-interrogate, shippers will be able to share information about cargo-related crimes, said duNann, who previously started up companies that include Verifone Inc. for fraud detection.

"Cargo loss is a much bigger problem than check fraud and credit card fraud put together," according to duNann.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.

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