A locking mechanism, designed and manufactured in the West Midlands, is set to provide a new solution for preventing up to £55bn of cargo going missing every year.
E-Containerlock, brainchild of Guardfreight directors Andrew Harrison and Wayne Cressman, overcomes a number of the security flaws experienced by conventional locks and can be fitted to all types of shipping containers, roller shutter doors, trailer barn doors and bulk liquid tankers.
It features a in-built GPRS tracking system providing location updates and immediate alerts if entry is forced.
The product has just completed nine months of testing and global trials, with more than 300 journeys across the US, Asia, Africa, South America and Europe made with E-Containerlock fitted.
Pre-release interest has seen a number of devices delivered and trialled by potential customers and resellers from the US and Mexico to Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Harrison, who has been involved in the intermodal freight sector for more than a decade, explained: “There are numerous ways of breaking into shipping containers, taking the contents and then closing them so it doesn’t look like they’ve been tampered with.”
“The E-Containerlock is fitted in seconds and offers a host of security benefits, including wrap around fitting, hub shield and extended housing that prevents tampering, handle rotation and left hand door opening respectively.
“The innovation comes in the multiple sensors and GPRS technology that are built into the device. This gives clients the chance to monitor their cargo at any point of the journey and also receive alerts if the container is opened or tampered with.
“This is ideal for preventing theft of goods and for proving the exact place where the incident has occurred. It also ensures freight integrity from the time the locking mechanism was fitted to the time it is removed”
While E-Containerlock was originally devised to help protect goods and reduce insurance premiums, extensive market research has identified a number of alternative end uses.
Government Revenue Authorities is one group already taking an interest with view to clamping down on tax evasion caused by companies/individuals not declaring the transportation of transported goods through their provinces, regions or countries.
The management team at Droitwich-based Guardfreight also believe its system could be used for tackling illegal immigrants, as the operator will know the moment a lock on any trailer or even a curtainside has been breached.
Cressman added: “The trials have gone really well and we are already using the results to effectively market the product to resellers, Governments and intermodal freight specialists.
“Customers can buy the E-Containerlock as a one-off purchase or alternatively they can take out a licensing agreement where they pay a monthly fee and then use it as and when is required.
“Every user gets access to our secure online portal, which helps you track the route your consignment is taking and its current status. It fires you immediate text and email alerts if there is an issue and a complete online audit of the shipment integrity is also available.
We’ve built in a reverse logistics solution so that each unit is able to easily and seamlessly be repositioned ready for the next trip. This is achieved by carrying the necessary documentation and, in some cases the packaging, to make this previously complicated and costly process easy to complete.”
Guardfreight is looking to tap into the ‘Made in Britain’ brand after forming a truly UK supply chain to manufacture and supply the various components that make up E-Containerlock.