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International ready to tap security market as new U.S. regs open door for more built-in features

International Truck and Engine Corp. the operating arm of Navistar International Corp., is getting into the security business.With a new crop of U.S. Homeland Security-inspired regulations entering th...


International Truck and Engine Corp. the operating arm of Navistar International Corp., is getting into the security business.

With a new crop of U.S. Homeland Security-inspired regulations entering the trucking industry every day, the truck and engine maker’s executives have announced plans to develop a whole bevy of new features to help their clients comply.

Plans include everything from on-board communications packages to send a variety of data from a vehicle to a fleet’s facility or sites such as border crossings, to biometric identification systems for drivers and their cargoes.

Company officials made their intentions known during a recent teleconference.

“It’s imperative that we as a truck manufacturer take the initiative to make sure our customers have the right tools and knowledge to meet new security standards,” said Phil Christman, vice president, product development, International Truck and Engine Corporation. “Our goal is helping companies understand how new regulation and new technology will impact their businesses, especially when it comes to understanding and planning for cost-effective investments in new systems, equipment and training.”

Christman said he believes planned developments will help truckers comply with expected additional government oversight of the trucking industry, an increasing number of security checkpoints and slowdowns in transportation channels over the coming years.

“Several pieces of legislation currently are pending in Congress that will immediately impact on our customers if they become law. And the anticipated outcome of these legislative efforts means our customers will face a new range of security challenges that could translate into cost pressures.”

The company has also launched its own “White Paper” on the subject of the effects of the Homeland Security Act on the trucking industry, including relevant legislation, emerging security systems and technologies, and recommendations for action among key customer segments. The paper, available online at http://www.internationaldelivers.com, is the result of a research project aimed at understanding the demands facing International customers in an industry bracing for regulatory change, say company officials.

Based on several weeks of research, the International white paper describes the details of the Homeland Security Act, including government-mandated tests currently underway to test the costs and feasibility of technologies such as telematics, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other vehicle and cargo security tools.

“Safety and security are critical issues in our industry,” said Vera Gavrilovich, the white paper’s primary author and director, customer relationship management and market analysis. “The next few months will be especially important for our customers, as regulatory decisions are made and transportation companies must respond accordingly.”

The white paper details how new rules announced in 2003 by the Research and Special Programs Administration of the Department of Transportation are expected to cost freight companies $88.3 million to implement in the first year and $29 million each year thereafter. Under these new rules, about 43,000 companies will need to have security plans in place by September 25, 2003.

Other pending regulatory decisions include a safety permit program currently under deliberation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the outcome of which will impact companies that transport hazardous materials.

The International white paper also details a series of technology solutions currently under review by a consortium of companies, including International, in partnership with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). Those solutions include:

Driver, passenger and cargo verification systems, including biometric identification systems, coded or electronic vehicle entry, and automatic vehicle shutdown;

Vehicle cargo security technologies, such as “smart” seals, wireless linking via Dedicated Short-Range Radio Frequency (DSR-RF), and optical cargo scanners;

Vehicle and cargo tracking capabilities, including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, container profiling software, and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems; and

Emergency Response Systems, such as wireless and satellite driver communication tools, geo-fencing and remote vehicle disabling technologies.

International officials say any of the above tools could be integrated into already existing electrical, diagnostic and communications infrastructure.

The white paper also provides a handy overview of the current regulatory state of affairs — including anticipated Homeland Security measures and HAZMAT regulations.

As part of its research into customer security needs, the company is also conducting an online survey (also available at the web address indicated above).

As of late August, the ongoing survey indicated cost was the biggest barrier to the use of security system technology for motor carriers. The survey also indicated respondents believe individual truck drivers are primarily responsible for cargo security.


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