How technology is protecting a major Florida seaport from terrorists

Wed, 2016-05-18 06:50 -- SCC Staff


When we think about physical security for critically important infrastructure, we're typically thinking about things like electric grids, bridges and roads. But deepwater seaports, particularly those dedicated to cargo only, are vulnerable too. The possibility of an attack, whether from terrorists or other kinds of criminal activity, is a legitimate concern for the industry. And the sheer volume of containers passing through ports is growing quickly, so quickly many are struggling to keep up with the growth.

The news release below outlines how officials at Tampa Bay's Port Manatee chose to expand and improve security through a combination of equipment (such as surveillance gear) and digital technology. And here's what I like the most about this case study — it takes an integrated approach. Far too often, cities implement piecemeal solutions that cost more while accomplishing less. Working with Council Associate Partner Siemens, Port Manatee officials also chose solutions that better enable them to track cargo and audit their operations.

Does your city have a seaport, or an inland port? If so, you would do well to evaluate its security measures — and take the appropriate steps right away if it's lacking. — Jesse Berst


One of Florida’s largest and fastest-growing deepwater seaports implements Siemens security solution

Integrated system complies with TWIC regulations and supports Port Manatee’s business objectives

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE) --Siemens has implemented an integrated physical security solution throughout Port Manatee, which is located at the entrance to Tampa Bay and is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal. The system combines access control and physical security infrastructure management technologies─ helping the cargo-only port address its security needs, ensure compliance with federal TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) requirements, and support its overall business objectives.

The facility’s security solution has allowed Port Manatee to streamline its processes and increase efficiency by enabling officials to track the movement of goods throughout the port and establish workflows to manage different commodity types – making sure the right cargo is moved in and out properly. This is a considerable undertaking for a port that has approximately 8 million tons of cargo passing through annually, supports 24,000 jobs and contributed to more than $2.3 billion in regional economic activity last year.

“To address Port Manatee’s needs, we paired our extensive experience in deepwater seaports with two of our key security technologies – the SiPass access control management system and Siveillance Vantage command and control system,” said Dave Hopping, president, Siemens’ Building Technologies Division - Americas. “This winning duo created a single security solution that is flexible enough to address the wide range of activities and enhance port domain awareness and day to day operations that take place at the port.”

Using a combination of hardware and digital technology, the Siemens solution has established greater accountability and direct collaboration between port security and seaport tenants, with a one-to-one match for accountability of cargo released to trucks. This allows Port Manatee to better track and manage movement in the port and identify which escort and monitoring services are accessed by different users. The one-to-one match between users and cargo has given Port Manatee greater transparency into who is using which service, also allowing the port to recoup more of its own costs. Additionally, the port is now able to monitor more visitors via surveillance rather than by personal escort.

“The Siemens security solution has been very helpful in improving our compliance measures,” said David St. Pierre, director, Seaport Security, Port Manatee. “Before, we had a hard time keeping track of people and cargo, while maintaining an audit trail. The Siemens system is built around compliance, so from the time people come in and tell us what they’re doing, we can track them.”

The SiPass access control system allows Port Manatee security personnel to monitor who enters restricted areas of the port and when, via access cards. The system helps the port meet TWIC requirements while also helping ensure tighter control over cargo manifest releases for all truckers, whether TWIC cardholders or visitors requiring issuance of temporary credentials.

Integrating the access control system with the Siveillance Vantage command and control system lets port personnel also monitor employee and visitor movements via video surveillance. This physical security infrastructure management system provides a single interface to also manage other building systems such as security lighting needed for nighttime cargo operations. In addition, Siemens developed customized workflows within the Siveillance solution and integrated systems critical to those processes, such as monitoring of refrigeration alarms for perishable items.

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