GE, Partners Ready Wireless Cargo Security

GE Security and China-based CIMC are unveiling test results on the new containers, which combine e-seals, sensors and wireless Bluetooth technology to ward off global terrorism and cargo theft.

For fighting both terrorism and billions of dollars in annual cargo theft, General Electric Security and its partner CIMC on Wednesday will unveil test results on a new product touted as the first commercially viable secure cargo container.

GE Security and CIMC, the worlds largest producer of cargo containers, will issue the announcement about GEs Bluetooth-enabled Tamper Evident Secure Container, or TESC, at the Customs Trade Symposium in Washington, D.C., officials said in prebriefings with

GE foresees no immediate direct competition for TESC, said James Petrizzi, general manager and vice president of engineering for GE Securitys Container Security Initiative, in an interview. The supply chain industry has been working to drive costs for secure containers down to $50 per shipment. But TESC will result in substantially lower costs of only $10 per shipment, according to Petrizzi.

/zimages/5/28571.gifA supply chain group goes global to combat terrorism. Click here to read more.

GE Security is producing the wirelessly capable electronic seal (e-seal), using technology licensed from partner AllSet. China-based CIMC is providing the standard-sized maritime cargo container, which measures roughly 8-by-8-by-40 feet. CIMC is the largest player in the global cargo container industry, with a 50 percent market share. Unisys, another ally, acted as systems integrator and observer for the maritime wireless security test.

General Electric expects to ship TESC as a commercial product in the second quarter of this year. Target markets include freight carriers as well as big importers, said Scott Brown, general manager of the security initiative. In about the same time frame, the company will also release CommerceGuard, a similar tamper-evident seal geared for use with the worlds approximately 15 million legacy cargo containers.

Beyond the prevention of terrorism and cargo theft, the products will be positioned as tools for achieving ROI (return on investment) through better supply chain management.

"Importers will actually be able to find out where their goods are. So theyll be able to manage their supply chains more tightly. This will translate into billions of dollars [in] ROI," Brown told

GEs Brown also pointed to the prospect of so-called "green lanes," which would reward importers using secure containers with fast handling through U.S. Customs.

"We know [from experience] that although companies will pay for security, theyd rather pay for productivity," Petrizzi said.

Next Page: How TESC works.