Boeing to pilot cargo security system

Boeing Co. has received a $4.2 million contract for a pilot project that will demonstrate cargo container security systems by tracking shipments from foreign ports to the United States.

Boeing officials announced the pilot contract today while attending the Paris Air Show. The contract is for the Port of Los Angeles, one of the ports designated by Congress to test new technologies for securing containers.

"Our solution provides for the secure and efficient movement of containerized goods on a global scale — from the manufacturer, to a port of entry and on to retailers," said Rick Stephens, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Homeland Security and Services division.

The Boeing system is designed to integrate real-time information on containers in transit with existing and future networks and databases. The idea is to reduce both security vulnerability and cargo losses.

Congress has earmarked $58 million for Operation Safe Commerce to track containers entering ports in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.; Los Angeles; New York; and New Jersey. The goal is to test different technologies to detect whether container cargos have been tampered with or are being used to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States.

"The program will prompt private businesses, ports, and federal, state and local authorities to develop new technologies that can monitor the movement and integrity of containers as they move through the supply chain," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a recent speech.

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