The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. The port is capable of handling over 3.7 million containers per year and for security has its own police force with their own fleet of liveried police cars and vans.
The Brief :
With such a heavy volume of traffic and throughput, Hutchinson Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the Port of Felixstowe wanted to enhance security further at the terminals by monitoring movement in and out of the port. This needed to be done without increasing cargo handling times and inconveniencing hauliers.
The Solution :
After extensive discussions with representatives from shipping lines, haulage companies, the Road Haulage Association, Felixstowe Port Users’ Association and Freight Transport Association, it was agreed that a biometric access control system should be introduced which was quick and easy for registered users and which could handle thousands of records.
The scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, was known as RHIDES (Road Haulier Identity System) and was intended to be an increased deterrent to container theft. The project also had the support of TRANSSEC, the Department for Transport’s security division.
Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies were capable of satisfying all of the requirements by supplying HandPunch 300 hand geometry access readers together with the Interflex 6020 Access System, Interflex Proximity access readers and an iCMS Identity Management System.
The use of biometrics to verify all drivers entering the port was important to keep track of who was entering and leaving at particular times. The hand geometry system is perfect for this kind of harsh environment where heavy and sustained use dictated that the system needed to be robust and capable of withstanding the tough usage.
The system, which currently has over 10,000 road hauliers enrolled, is initially licenced for 20,000 users but this can be expanded as necessary.
The integration of the hand readers with the identity management system ensured users could be identified quickly and accurately in order to keep the flow of traffic and reduce waiting times to a minimum.
Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe commented “As part of the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, the Port has introduced a series of measures to enhance security and tighten access controls, particularly to the terminals. As hauliers represent the largest group of visitors to the Port, making up some 4,000 movements in and out each day, we decided upon biometric identity cards as a means of recording their comings and goings.”
Upon arrival at the Port, the driver places the card into a reader and his/her hand onto the biometric hand reader. If a valid card is presented, the Port’s gate system records the number against the container and allows the driver to enter the restricted area of the terminal.
Chris Lewis continued “We are pleased with the positive responses that we have received from hauliers towards the introduction of identity cards for their drivers using the Port of Felixstowe. By introducing ID smart cards and combining them with biometric identification we have succeeded in increasing our security levels and linked to a centralised internet based system, the movement of goods are easily tracked and efficiency has greatly improved.”