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Unmasking Smuggling Via Shipping Containers Arriving at Lankan Ports

Original article from Sri Lanka Sunday Times, July 19, 2015

Approximately 8.4 billion tons of seaborne trade travelled the globe in 2010, according to the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, proving that the world’s economy moves largely by sea, states a technical expert at the Decision Sciences International Corporation that provides security solutions.

Its Chief Operating Officer Jay M. Cohen, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (Retired), is a proven leader and scientific and technical expert with diverse experience in government, the military, private industry and international business who has stated that Sri Lanka Ports Authority estimates more than 4.3 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) of cargo will enter the country through its seaports. Tasked with the mandate to ensure cargo enters the country legally, collect all applicable duties and prevent illicit material entering illegally, the Sri Lankan Government oversees a complex and challenging jurisdiction.

Businesses, agencies and organizations charged with managing cargo security have two specific objectives – simultaneously protect the integrity of import and export supply chains and facilitate the free flow of legal commerce, he said in a media statement.

Together it’s a complex and challenging undertaking. It can be a multi-layered mix of numerous operational and administrative responsibilities. Due to the persistent and pervasive threat posed by terrorists, smugglers, and other criminals cargo scanning will always be a critically important element of these responsibilities, it was pointed out. It was noted that the ultimate challenge for law enforcement agencies charged with managing Sri Lankan commerce security is facilitating the free flow of legal commerce while optimising security in response to evolving myriad threats that exploit the commercial system.

As a result, the government is adding new detection methods and procedures at Sri Lanka airports and seaports. But, adding extra procedures without implementing 100 per cent scanning gives smugglers the ability to employ sophisticated methods to circumvent detection in the 24,000 cargo containers arriving monthly at the Colombo Port, it was noted.

Cargo containers offer an attractive mechanism for smugglers as well as terrorists to deliver drugs and other contraband as well as falsify manifests to avoid customs duties and fees. Securing the lifeline of Sri Lanka’s economy — the global cargo supply chain — entails more than safeguarding cargo containers; it’s about protecting people and communities.

Multi-Mode Passive Detection (MMPDS) – Safe, Reliable, Automated
A revolutionary scanning technology called the Multimode Passive Detection System (MMPDS) from Decision Sciences International Corporation (DSIC) addresses the challenges and requirements of this multi-layered challenge, it was stated. MMPDS is capable of scanning 100 per cent of all cargo containers coming into ports. The product is totally passive — meaning there are no radiation or safety issues of any kind. A passive system like MMPDS makes use of the natural environment and does not add any radiation in order to conduct scans. MMPDS simply uses naturally existing cosmic ray muons to scan cargo and, therefore, personnel are never exposed to harmful radiation, the statement noted.

Containers of food and other perishables can also be scanned with no risk to the contents or to humans if they are present. The system uses what mother nature provides—natural cosmic ray energy—and requires no radiation safety or exclusion zones, costly radiation shielding structures or dedicated buildings to contain high energy radiation sources that take up valuable port real estate, the expert pointed out.

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