In some parts of the world such as Hong Kong and Singapore, a marine terminal is the critical interchange between production and sales. Problems and inefficiencies in terminal operations can have a costly ripple effect across the whole supply chain. The United States, as an example, has very large port operations in New York and in Los Angeles, plus some other locations, and port security is a major concern. The importance of terminal operation has driven many marine terminal operators to evaluate and adopt new technologies for improving efficiency, effectiveness, and security. More and more terminal operators are looking toward using RFID as a promising solution to increase efficiency and security, and RFID is being seen as an indispensable technology in the ‘‘port of the future.’’ The strength of this technology is the real-time visibility it offers. Marine terminals have long been searching for technology to solve the classical problem of tracking containers and tractors. RFID can help to locate their position and provide accurate data that helps in orchestrating their deployment. The technology is also seen as a means to comply with various security regulations after the events of September 11, 2001.
In fact, there are terminals already trying out the technology. For example, the Port of Busan has deployed a trial RFID container-tracking system to improve security and handling efficiency (Collins, 2005); Hutchison Whampoa, Port of Singapore Authority, and P&O Ports have decided to deploy RFID tracking technology in their terminals worldwide (Narasimhan, 2005). As an increasing number of leading container ports and terminals around the world are planning to become RFID-ready, the technology is arriving much faster than we may anticipate.