Newly installed eModal technology will validate trucking companies and drivers

The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) began compiling trucking company and driver information into a consolidated database on February 15. The database will enhance security measures at its marine terminal truck gates. Under the new system, called eModal Trucker Check, trucking companies wanting access to Maryland Port of Baltimore (MPOB) property will have to verify driver and company information. The database will instantly validate their presence at the port and either allow or deny them access.

‘Safety is one of Governor Ehrlich’s top priorities, and new projects like the eModal Trucker Check show how we are continuing to make our port safer and more secure,’ said Maryland Deputy Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. ‘It is critical that we know as much as possible about who comes into our port and what they are carrying in their trucks.’

The MPOB becomes the first port on the east coast to use eModal Truck Check. eModal, the largest provider of web-based port community systems applications in the United States, has been providing security services with eModal Trucker Check to West Coast ports since July 2000. The MPA will initially install the software at its Seagirt Marine Terminal, with plans to install it at its Dundalk Marine Terminal later this year. Nearly 400 trucking companies come into the Seagirt Marine Terminal annually.

‘Our terminal truck gates are a gateway into our port and they must be as secure as possible,’ said MPA Executive Director Brooks Royster. ‘This system will immediately verify for us the identity of the truck driver and why they need access into our port.’

Trucking companies will be required to securely register at and input their truckers’ information. The MPA expects to complete the database registration by March 15 and begin implementing the new security program on April 1.

‘The MPA addressed this project with both its Security and Operations teams. eModal Trucker Check is a mature and tested security application. With so many trucking companies in the northeast already registered in eModal, implementation is expected to be quite smooth,’ said eModal president, John Cushing.

‘The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Baltimore applauds the efforts of the Maryland Port Administration to institute eModal,’ said Captain Curt Springer of the US Coast Guard. ‘This innovative method to screen drivers and cargoes will further strengthen the security of the Port of Baltimore while at the same time facilitating commerce.’

The eModal Trucker Check represents the latest security enhancement for the MPOB. Since June 2002, the MPOB has received $18 million in federal funds and state funds for security. In the last year, the Port signed a $5.5 million contract with the security firm Adesta to design and install a remote video surveillance system as well as enhance current terminal perimeter security. The MPA also purchased a security patrol boat equipped with radar and sonar. The boat is assigned to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, which oversee security at the port’s facilities. The MPOB also has one of only two Mobile Sea Container Systems in the United States. Commonly referred to as the Eagle, this x-ray machine provided by US Customs and Border Protection can scan a 40-foot container within 30 seconds.

‘All of these technologies and equipment enhancements are helping make our port safer and more secure,’ said MPA Director of Security Homer Williams.