Published on February 28, 2008
RFID at the Border: An ITAA RFID Series WebcastOctober 6, 2004Prepared by Frank Bozek (CBP) and Scott Yeomans (Unisys): RFID at the Border: An ITAA RFID Series Webcast October 6, 2004 Prepared by Frank Bozek (CBP) and Scott Yeomans (Unisys) Free and Secure Trade Overview of Program: Overview of Program The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Canada, and between the United States and Mexico, to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of these countries. In developing this program, Canada and the United States, and Mexico and the United States, have agreed to harmonize to the fullest extent their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at their respective borders. FAST has been operational since December 16, 2002. Its predecessor, the National Customs Automation Program (NCAP), has been in service since 1994. Requirements to Participate: Requirements to Participate Carrier must be approved by Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Importer must be C-TPAT-approved. Driver must be FAST-approved and carrying FAST RFID card. Conveyance must be pre-registered with RFID windshield sticker affixed to the windshield. Must use one of two allowed release mechanisms: Fully electronic manifest (Preferred Manifest)—formerly NCAP Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)—ABI entries Benefits: Benefits Trade Dedicated lanes in many cases go from either Canadian or Mexican Customs to Primary inspection booths. Only required to submit messages 30 minutes prior to arrival instead of 60 minutes under Trade Act of 2002, saving up to 2 hours. CBP Known low risks are identified, allowing Inspectors more time to focus on unknown risk trips. Less paperwork is involved. Allows for automated enforcement checks. Replaces user fee decal for C-TPAT carriers, thereby reducing billing costs. Statistics: Statistics Operational in 19 northern and southern border ports with a total of 97 lanes 17 enrollment centers 43,000 drivers approved 45,000 trucks registered Program operational since December 2002 300 percent increase in volume of cargo cleared via FAST over the last year Architecture: Architecture Driver Registration: Driver Registration The FAST driver application is sent to either the Canadian Processing Center (northern border) or Mellon Financial Services (southern border) for initial validations and data entry. The application is transmitted electronically in XML format to CBP. The FAST Processing Center performs a risk assessment on each driver. If assessed as low risk, the driver is sent a conditionally approved call-in letter. The driver shows up at one of 17 enrollment centers on the border where 10-digit fingerprints are taken, the driver is interviewed, a photo taken, and the RFID card issued. For northern border drivers, Canada is sent enrollment data in XML format. Conveyance Registration: Conveyance Registration When a carrier is C-TPAT approved, the carrier is sent a conveyance registration worksheet. The carrier completes the worksheet or provides updates and sends it to Mellon Financial Services (MFS). MFS validates the spreadsheet against CBP rules and the user fee database, fulfills new transponder requests, and sends the data on to CBP in XML format. Arrival Processing: Arrival Processing The driver holds up the RFID card when approaching the Primary booth. The card is read by the antenna, and the system notifies the Inspector that a card has been read. The Inspector clicks on the Driver button to view the driver photo and biographical information. When the windshield transponder is read by the antenna, the system notifies the Inspector that a truck transponder has been read. The Inspector clicks on the Truck button to view a dialog containing the C-TPAT carrier and conveyance data. If a electronic manifest is outstanding for the conveyance, a script runs to bring up the CICS Arrival screen containing the manifest. Hardware/Software Involved: Hardware/Software Involved Intermec 1555 handheld RFID/barcode scanners used to assign transponders to drivers and conveyances at issuance time Intermec 2100 Reader and two Transcore 3110 Parapanel Antennae operating at 915 Mhz at each Primary booth Datacard ID Works, Datacard Magna Card Printer, Olympus 4000 camera, and HP 8200 flatbed scanner for driver enrollment FAST Driver Registration System (written in Visual Basic interfacing with DB2) FAST Arrival client (written in Visual C++ and Microsoft ASP) Interfaces with Canada and Mellon Financial Services (written in J2EE) Transcore eGO windshield transponders and Intermec RFID cards Criteria for RFID Selection : Criteria for RFID Selection Discrimination of tag read to individual lane Read distance of 10 to 20 feet Single RFID technology for both the driver card and the truck tag Ability to accurately identify one truck and up to three drivers Cost-effective RFID hardware and transponders Passive technology to avoid replacement Need to only read the tag ID (no access needed to additional memory) Need to support car carrier trucks Need to support multiple lanes per port Selected RFID Technology: Selected RFID Technology Intellitag/eGO operating at 915 Mhz Approximate range of 15 feet Multiple form factors for the passive tags Used in other applications Reliability and past experience with the vendor Cost-effectiveness of the readers and the tags Redundancy (each reader connects the computer in that lane) Can be tuned to read in individual lanes Issues: Issues Trucks may occasionally knock antennae out of alignment as much as 30 degrees, causing read failures and lane “bleedover.” Procedures are being implemented for field personnel to periodically test the lanes and make minor adjustments. Initially the FAST software was made complex to allow for buffering of trucks, despite port infrastructure that often prevented this. The result was late reads, which has been corrected with more simple processing that displays whatever is read. Future Use of RFID: Future Use of RFID All carriers will be issued transponders in place of decals for user fees in starting October 2005. In addition, carriers will receive transponders for decremental user fee accounts. FAST will expand to 15 additional ports and 22 more lanes in 2005. SENTRI, a passenger preferred traveler program on the southern border, is converting to the same RFID technology. NEXUS, the northern border equivalent program, already uses Intellitag technology. Other CBP and DHS traveler programs are evaluating the technology for their use. Technology refresh is planned to combine the Visual C++/ASP client and the CICS Arrival into one ASP.NET application.