Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2001.
Remote Verification of Container Identification at a Port Terminal Gate
The verification of the container identification code is done at the entry and/or exit of a terminal gate. The process uses the Container Identification System to insure that the right container gets picked up or delivered. On the above photo, an operator is manning a verification station at the gate of a port terminal in Newark (port of New York / New Jersey). The remotely controlled closed circuit video feed on the left side displays the Container Identification Code, which is a zoom of the upper right side of the back of the container. In this case the owner code CPIU indicates that the container is owned by Container Providers International, which is a leasing company. The container size and type code 45G1 indicates that it is a 40 foot high cube general cargo container. On the right a computer screen displays bill of lading information related to this container. In this case, the container identification code is entered manually, underlining the importance of the check digit (last number on right side of the video; zero) as a way to mitigate input errors. The operator also has an intercom to communicate with the truck driver waiting at the gate.
Since this photo was taken in 2001, the verification technology has improved notably through optical character recognition, implying that the container identification code is read electronically and the operator insures that the sequence has been read without error. There was also a convergence with the video feed, the information system and the intercom been all part of the same computer system (digital audio and video). Eventually, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) may remove the need to visually read the container identification code.