In a pilot run begun January of 1998, nearly 700 Illinois truck drivers at 75 trucking companies voluntarily enrolled in a program to gain access with the touch of a finger to 24 cargo sites involving 22 airlines at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The fingerscan-based systems will ultimately verify the identity of over 50 000 workers at O’Hare and Midway Airports.
“About 60% of all of our air cargo shipments at O’Hare occur on passenger planes,” explains Chicago Aviation Commissioner Mary Rose Loney. “The very fact that we are co-mingling passengers with large volumes of freight activity really places the challenge upon us to ensure that we are balancing the security needs of both.”
Until the new system was used, truckers delivering cargo shipments were required to provide nothing more than a photocopied driver’s licence and a written manifest describing the freight.
According to Harry Wilkinson, President of SecurCom, the security system integrator, that has all changed. “When a driver arrives at the air cargo facility where he is going to make a delivery, he approaches a counter where he is instructed to insert his smartcard into a smartcard reader. The driver’s photo, information and employer information are shown on the computer screen. The driver then puts his finger on the Identix reader which verifies that this driver belongs to that card and belongs to that load.
“The next click shows the manifest which lists the cargo that is on the truck for delivery, destination and, most importantly, the seal number that has been placed on that trailer.
“At that point, the attendant accepts that manifest by touching his finger to the Identix reader and downloads all information into the system. The driver is then authorised to go out on the dock and effect delivery. One of the dock attendants verifies that the seal on the trailer matches the seal number on the manifest loaded into the computer. Once that has been done, it is okay to effect delivery into the cargo facility.”
“The use of fingerscan technology is actually faster than our current technology,” adds Loney.
For details contact Hi Tec Laboratory on tel: (011) 958 0703/4/5 or fax: (011) 958 0706.
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