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USDOT's high-tech intermodal project passes initial test


U.S. Department of Transportation recently completed a successful operational test of the Electronic Supply Chain Manifest system (ESCM), a federally sponsored intermodal project designed to increase freight security and reduce shipment costs.

Started in late 1999, the test incorporated technology designed to provide a positive identification of the person responsible for freight and tracking data from all transportation modes. A security system automatically matched cargo with handlers, known shipper information and origin/destination data.

More than 200 people were enrolled in the ESCM test, representing about 40 companies (primarily trucking and aviation). However, USDOT officials believe the system has potential for rail and marine applications.

Test results showed the system also generated cost savings per transaction ranging from $1.50 to $3.50, depending on the shipment type.

ESCM is jointly funded through USDOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program, Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Illinois. USDOT's Office of Intermodalism provided technical assistance, and American Transportation Research Institute designed, managed and analyzed the system.

"The state-of-the-art ITS technologies employed in this operational test will play an important role in securing freight as it moves throughout the country," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/13/2003