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Under Japan’s International Trade Field Trial, Savi Technology and strategic investor Mitsui & Co have joined with an international exporter to utilise active radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions to track the location and security of intermodal cargo shipments between countries. 

Financed by Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry (Meti), and overseen by the Japan Federation of Freight Industries, the recently completed “Smart Container “field trial was the first government-sponsored programme in Japan utilising active RFID to help monitor ocean container shipments.

Using Savi’s Transportation Security System (TSS) software and a variety of Savi’s battery-powered active RFID tags, the field trials have monitored the transport of office machines and printer toner cartridges from Fuji Xerox, a joint venture between Fuji Photo Film of Japan and Xerox.

“Japan’s field trials are an international model of how government and private industry can work together to improve the management and security of the global supply chain,” says Mark Weidick, the CEO of Savi Networks, a company recently formed by Savi Technology and Hutchison Port Holdings, a leading port developer and operator. “Our trade lane programme in Japan has involved a number of supply chain participants, including the logistics subsidiary of Mitsui and Co, Hutchison Port Holdings and its logistics services subsidiary, LINE. At the same time, this project demonstrates the growing acceptance of existing international standards for active RFID.” 

Savi’s family of active RFID devices are based on the International Standardisation Organization’s (ISO) 18000-7 standards for active RFID, operating on the 433.92MHz frequency.

The product-filled containers were certified and electronically sealed by authorised personnel at their point of origin at a warehouse in Japan. From there, they were tracked using the RFID-enabled solution at key checkpoints while transported by truck to the port of Yokohama. Ocean vessels then transported the containers to the port of Hong Kong, where trucks then routed the shipments to an inland distribution facility, where the containers were electronically unsealed by authorised personnel. 

Projects funded by Meti under Japan’s International Trade Field Trial are aimed at using RFID-enabled solutions for major shippers moving products to and from Japan and other ports in the US, Europe and Asia.