Secure Release Order – A digital authorization for pick-up

Source: Container News
Date: 26th April 2024

A new digital release process for containers arriving at German seaports, called “Secure Release Order,” is set to be implemented. It provides more security for container imports via German seaports.

This system aims to gradually replace the existing PIN code-based process. The introductory phase is planned to roll out in the second half of this year.

The extensive digitization of the release process aimed to enhance the security of pick-ups at German seaports. Simultaneously, they seek to implement effective measures to combat organized criminal activities and prevent the smuggling of drugs through German seaports.

According to a statement, the key is the complete digitization of the release process through the implementation of the “Secure Release Order.” This guarantees that from the moment a container arrives at the seaport until the transport company collects it, there is a clear record of who is authorized to manage the container. The container can only be handed over from one authorized party to the next.

Each party in the transportation chain digitally transfers the “authorization for pick-up” to the succeeding party. This identity-based “authorization for pick-up” will gradually supersede the previous anonymous PIN procedure.

The new process involves all participants in the transportation chain. Communication channels are now encrypted and routed through the neutral and multi-site IT platform, German Ports. This platform enables verification of the current rights holder at any given time. For instance, terminal operators will be able to check in German Ports to see whether the company arriving to collect the container possesses the authorization for pick-up.

Furthermore, the slot booking process for trucks and the driver registration process at the terminals are seamlessly integrated into German Ports. This ensures a transparent digital connection between the authorization for pick-up, the transport pre-announcement, and the truck driver.

The standardized digital process notably enhances the security of import clearances through the following means:

1. Authentication and transfer of release rights
2. Documentation of the chronological history of release rights within German Ports
3. Protection against unauthorized data access and manipulation by employing encrypted safeguards for information within the German Ports IT platform

Moreover, the German Ports IT platform is seamlessly integrated into the existing Port Community Systems. In the case of Bremen and Wilhelmshaven, it integrates with the Business Information and Tracking Platform (BIT) while the Port of Hamburg utilizes the Import Management Platform (IMP).

In 2021, two IT and software companies initiated a collaborative project under the German Ports label, aiming to develop standardized solutions for all German seaports. This initiative seeks to enhance the competitiveness of maritime locations on the global stage.

Also, considerable momentum for the digitalization of container releases was gained by the two IT and software companies following the Port Security Conference held in Hamburg at the end of October 2023. The conference’s concluding statement emphasized the shared objective of establishing a secure process for container release through encrypted, traceable, and tightly controlled data access. This consensus on enhancing security has since been a pivotal driving force behind the project.

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