Apr 22, 2015

Schiphol Airport to shift to full-fledged use of "SmartGate Cargo" in 2016


Saskia van Pelt, Cargo Business Development Director
Vehicle inspection machine

The "SmartGate Cargo" system, which was rolled out at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) in 2010 will enter into full-fledged operation next year. A public-private project centering on customs procedures, SmartGate Cargo computerizes cargo information and integrates cargo monitoring and management systems at the airport toward improved speed in cargo handling. It will also make the remote inspection of all cargoes possible. In an interview with Saskia van Pelt, Cargo Business Development Director of AAS, in Tokyo, she told Kaiji Press (KP) that the SmartGate Cargo is "an unprecedented initiative that has no parallel among the other airports in the world," and that all airline companies, forwarders and other related entities that use AAS will ultimately take part in the project.

Saskia van Pelt, Cargo Business Development Director

[Unprecedented initiative in the world]

SmartGate Cargo is a public-private project spearheaded by the Tax Authority/Customs of the Netherlands, AAS and Air Cargo Netherlands (CAN). The system electronically utilizes cargo information on all stages - from the carrying in/out of cargoes to the airport and handling of cargoes, up to inspection - in order to simplify and facilitate export/import procedures and screening/inspection, among other processes. All inspections done by government authorities at AAS are centrally controlled by Customs, thereby enabling the remote inspection of cargoes inside the sheds/warehouses of forwarders and other shippers.
Information on remote inspection is reflected into the Customs' system on a real-time basis. Joint inspection centers will also be launched by the middle of next year for small/medium-scale enterprises that are unable to introduce inspection equipment on their own. To support this initiative, inspection machines for vehicles have also been installed.
Meanwhile, AAS is promoting the so-called "eLink" system for the management of electronic information of trucks inside the airport. With various pieces of electronic information embedded in the identification (ID) cards of truck drivers that get in and out of the airport, the relay of information to forwarders and handling companies in advance will speed up the supply chain.
Specifically, the ID card of a driver will be equipped with integrated circuit (IC) chips that will turn them into Smart Cards, which would then be loaded with information about the driver and his vehicle, the AWB Number of the cargoes loaded on the truck, customs-related information and so on. When the information on the ID is read by the forwarders using their machines, cargoes can then be received without the need for procedures related to documentation. The system began to be used in 2010, and it has now shifted to complete operation. With its adoption, processes related to ground handling have been reduced by 25% compared to the hitherto percentage, causing significant shortening in time for handling cargoes.

The gist of the interview with van Pelt is as follows.

*The biggest change in the introduction of SmartGate Cargo is the integrated supervision of monitoring and control systems. Remote inspection is done on all types of cargoes that require checking. With SmartGate Cargo, time is shortened and the speed of cargo handling at the airport is accelerated, leading to more rational and reliable services. This is an initiative that has no parallel among the other airports in the world.
*SmartGate Cargo is a project that began in 2010 and is being advanced with the Tax Authority/Customs of the Netherlands on the driver's seat. Ultimately, all airline companies, forwarders and other entities that use our airport will take part in the program. Joint inspection centers will be completed before their scheduled full operation in 2016 and by then, we will carry out full-fledged remote inspection on some cargoes that are currently being done on a partial basis only. At present, we have already completed the introduction of the Customs Control Center, information and communications technology (ICT) solutions, vehicles for remote inspection and nuclear detection sensors, and are advancing the rollout of the ULD scanner, too. We are also actually performing test runs on remote inspection.
*With regard to airline companies, all of them have already joined our project. This is because they are required to submit in advance the necessary electronic information on cargoes to Customs. Airlines submit said information in advance to Customs through the cargo community platform Cargonaut. Almost all of the major forwarders and logistics providers take part in the project that allows them to use their own inspection machines when their cargoes undergo remote inspection (on a trial basis). It is also a program that fits Authorized Economic Operators (AEO). Virtually all of the companies that use our airport have AEO certification.
*The system is able to shorten the standby time to inspection for cargoes that have been marked for Customs inspection and other procedures. In particular, in case of quarantine and other screenings/inspections related to the other regional agencies, it is necessary to make an appointment with the windows/contact points of multiple authorities. At AAS, Customs has switched to a method that systematizes and manages in a "one moment in time" manner all these kinds of inspection processes at the airport. As a result, all cargo checks are completed once and the cargoes can be hauled to their final destinations at the shortest time possible. It is an efficient system that is made possible through time shortening.
*Customs receives all cargo information before the cargoes reach the airport. And when Customs asks the forwarder for "detailed information on cargoes in the pallet," images and documents scanned remotely (at the forwarders' warehouses) can be submitted right away.
*We owe the progress of SmartGate Cargo primarily to the existence of ACN, which counts all industries related to air cargoes as members. Operators of virtually all airfreight sectors that use our airport, such as airline companies, forwarders, ground handling companies and trucking firms, participate in the ACN. Even ACN itself forms organizations per project and joins all innovative projects being promoted at AAS. One such project is the eLink, and many members of ACN have joined its test run.

[25% reduction in work with eLink]
*The eLink system is a program that was jointly built by ACN and Cargonaut. The ID cards of truck drivers that enter/leave the airport were originally issued by ACN to its member companies. By putting an IC chip into the ID cards in order to connect and process more information, cumbersome security procedures and checkpoint operations may be simplified. Thus far, when a driver is about to enter the airport, he has to submit documents (for permit to enter) aside from his ID card. But by computerizing and consolidating the information into a single Smart Card, the use of documents is omitted in the process.
*As a specific example, in case a driver will deliver cargoes to a forwarder, if he declares that he is an owner of an ACN Card (Smart Card), then the information in all documents will be computerized and loaded into the said Card. When the forwarder holds the driver's Smart Card to the pertinent machine to read the information it contains, the forwarder will see that cargo information is stored in the Smart Card, and at the same time, the Card will transmit a signal to the handling agency that says, "The truck driver has collected the cargoes. He will now head to the warehouse (of the ground handler)." And when the truck driver undergoes the procedure for entry into the warehouse of the ground handling company using the Smart Card, he will be able to have his cargoes verified and receive guidance instantaneously, with, for instance, a warehouse personnel saying, "So you are Mr. Jones? Three pallets, am I right? Please proceed to Gate No. 50."
*Another benefit of the eLink is that it enables truck drivers to electronically receive cargo information, thereby making it possible for them to load the cargoes at an earlier stage than when documents have to be processed. In the case of pallet transport, if the cargoes are packed in order to hide what is inside, the driver would not be able to know in detail what is in the cargoes they are transporting since all cargo information is stored in the Smart Card. With this, it also offers a more secure method for transporting valuable goods.

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