Georgia Ports Authority, Shanghai International Port Group launch E-tag cargo tracking project

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) commemorated the launch of an E-tag cargo tracking demonstration project today. With the use of an RFID technology system, the GPA and the SIPG will track cargo movement in real time from its point of origin to its final destination.

The GPA has had a partnership with SIPG, the world’s second largest port, since 2004. This partnership includes cooperation on operations, marketing, and information technology. Recently the two ports developed a demonstration project equipping RFID tags, or ‘E-Tags,’ on the container boxes of ships sailing from Shanghai to Savannah. Since March 2008, weekly sailings have had about 150 tags per vessel from Shanghai to Savannah. Recently, the GPA has begun sending containers with E-tags from Savannah to Shanghai, making it a two-way operation.

This demonstration project is a bold, proactive move by both ports. ‘By joining forces with the SIPG, we are improving the flow of trade and security through better technology,’ said GPA’s Chairman of its Board of Directors Steve Green. ‘This program will also have a big impact on US security and that of our trading partners.’

‘The threat against terrorism, stowaways and food contamination has made real-time container monitoring throughout the logistics chain an immediate necessity,’ said SIPG’s Vice-President Bao Qifan. ‘China is the first to mobilize resources such as ports, shipping companies, cargo owners and the Customs and put the technology into use on a commercial shipping line.’

Port of Savannah is the fastest growing port in the US and the fourth largest. ‘Savannah now handles nearly half of total Mid- and South Atlantic trade with Shanghai,’ said GPA’s Executive Director Doug J. Marchand. ‘We offer one of the largest selections of all-water service between Shanghai and the East Coast. Together, we are the first to bring together ports, shipping companies, cargo owners and customers to employ this new technology.’

Also, Georgia Logistics Innovation Center (LINC) in coordination with the GPA and SIPG hosted the E-tag Technology Roundtable: A look at the present and future, which was open to the public. It included brief presentations followed by discussion and commentary by academic, industry and government experts in the area of cargo container tracking technology, its application and future developments.

GPA is the biggest portal for trade with Asia among US Mid and South Atlantic ports and the biggest on the East Coast after NY/NJ. China, including Hong Kong, accounted for 39.3% of GPA’s total trade in 2007. Mainland China alone accounted for 36.1% of GPA’s total trade in 2007. Currently, there are nine direct container services between Savannah and Shanghai.

2007 Statistics
GPA container exports to Mainland China in ‘07: 165,593 teus (+9% from 2006)

GPA container imports from Mainland China in ‘07: 559,395 teus (+16% from 2006)

Total GPA container trade with Mainland China in ‘07: 724,988 teus (+14% from 2006)

GPA container exports to Shanghai Port in ‘07: 71,903 teus (+1% from 2006)

GPA container imports from Shanghai Port in ‘07: 139,695 teus (+33% from 2006)

Total GPA container trade with Shanghai Port in ‘07: 211,599 teus (+20% from 2006)