At the beginning of Phase-I, participation included over 500 drivers and 11 airlines and/or freight forwarders. The study focused on providing truck drivers and facilities with biometric finger print scanners and smart-card devices to authenticate driver identification, and confirm cargo transfer at airports. Drivers could expedite cargo transfer by quickly identifying themselves using personalized smart-cards, and in some cases could store cargo seal information on smart-cards to confirm chain of custody.
Phase-II of the project involved the use of internet technology to catalog cargo manifests and facilitate transfer of information between manufacturers, truckers, and airline carriers. The catalog system enabled participants with biometric/smart-card devices to upload manifest cargo information onto the internet at the point of origin. The EMCS system would then automatically send e-mails to supply chain partners downstream to notify them of scheduled transfers, and participating drivers with biometric/smart-card devices could access this information and adjust their schedules to minimize downtime.
Phase-III of the project was designed to increase the functionality of the internet based manifest control system by providing additional information to regulatory agencies regarding high risk cargo and dangerous goods.
The benefits of electronic manifests, smart cards, and biometric devices were measured by comparing the time required to process manifests using the automated system against the time required to process manifests using the traditional paper-based system. Customer satisfaction data were collected using questionnaires to measure participant perceptions.
The overall impact of ESMC on operations was measured based on interviews with participants and system implementers (ATAF). In general, the following comments were noted.
- Participants felt the system was easy to use, and were very satisfied with the ability of ESCM to duplicate necessary business functions.
- Drivers were interested in the ability of the ESCM to reduce cargo pick-up and drop-off delays.
- Access to the shipment status information over the internet was viewed as beneficial. The ECMS provided real-time information on cargo custody.
- Participants believed that the system will continue to improve operational efficiency if more fully deployed.
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