Bosch Renovates the Port of Greater Baton Rouge with its IP-Based Solutions

Bosch Renovates the Port of Greater Baton Rouge with its IP-Based Solutions

Large coastal and inland ports have facilities covering thousands of square meters of waterfront, terminal buildings and open cargo handling areas. Significant challenges arise with respect to the installation and operation of safety and security systems at ports. These include access control and CCTV surveillance that require major cost and time investment. This article describes the upgrade of the analog CCTV surveillance system at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, one of the top ten ports in the United States in terms of total volume of cargo handling and shipping tonnage.

The Port and its Facilities
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Louisiana is situated on the almost 2,000 kilometer-long Mississippi river, 370 kilometers from its outlet on the Gulf of Mexico. Its port jurisdiction covers numerous facilities along 140 kilometers of the river and includes the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville and West Baton Rouge. Bulk cargo and container facilities include handling of agricultural products, grain, coffee, metal, petrochemicals, foodstuffs and many other categories. These goods are transported by motor vessels and barges of all sizes on both the river and on canals. Truck and rail transport also handle a huge volume of land-based cargo.

The port is situated at Port Allen on the opposite side of the river from the city of Baton Rouge and comprises two terminals. The Deepwater River Terminal covers an area of 1,6 square kilometers and includes more than 48 square meters of transit sheds, with a rail complex of more than 27 kilometers of track. The Inland Rivers Marine Terminal (IRMT) covers 240,000 square meters and is situated on the US Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Port Allen Canal) leading off the river. The Mississippi river inland waterway system provides access to the heartland of the United States via more than 24,000 kilometers of water transportation. It is also the waterway to the Gulf of Mexico and ocean trade lanes to and from Latin America and the rest of the world.

The IP-Based Solution
The primary security requirement at the port was to upgrade the existing analog CCTV surveillance system. The system that was no longer extensive enough to cover the large area comprising multiple locations in two major terminals some distance apart. In addition, it had limitations with respect to quality and flexibility of video data and its recording and playback functionality. Baton Rouge-based system integrator Vanguard Technologies was asked to find a solution that would address the logistics issues of locations in both terminals. Because of the distance between locations, including linking the two terminals, Vanguard Technologies recommended a hybrid wireless-based IP communication and fiber-optic cable-based system from Bosch Security Systems.

"We were working within some very specific constraints, namely to provide a cost-effective system that would allow key personnel access to security data from a number of locations. By using video over IP-enabled equipment from Bosch, we were able to provide a reliable, cost-effective video surveillance system. The solution features live video over an IP network, data access to all field devices, and remote power management tools. This provides effective remote device management for port executives, facility security officers and remote device management from the internal network or secured Internet access," said Jerry Jones, President from Vanguard Technologies.

The installation now comprises more than 50 fixed and PTZ cameras, with Bosch MPEG-4 encoders strategically placed at each location. Connectivity from the cameras to the Bosch encoders is provided via an IP network. This includes both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless devices, as well as about 1.6 kilometers of multimode fiber-optic cable. The MPEG-4 solution enables the port to manage bandwidth across a large IP network.

Control of the entire network is provided by Bosch's video management system, which is a video surveillance and alarm management software package for IP-based CCTV networks. Based on the intuitive concept of sitemaps, the system allows an operator to remain in full control of the system with an overview of the status of all components and situations. It integrates with existing components such as cameras and monitors and is extendible with NVRs for long-term recording.

The new CCTV system uses video data packet transfer to address distance, terrain and logistics without compromising data integrity or security. It also provides the capability to archive video data for retrieval in the future. Another important feature is the ability to continuously monitor security devices and network links via network monitoring tools to ensure 24/7 uptime as well as fast problem resolution. The result is that each authorized operator has instant access to live video from all cameras, as well as any new camera that may be added to the system.  The archived video is stored centrally on four NVRs utilizing several terabytes of fault-tolerant RAID 5 storage. Because of the use of wireless transmission, protection against intermittent network connectivity was also built into the system with the use of encoders with 2 GB of storage. If network connectivity is lost, so-called 'recording-at-the-edge' continues. Once connectivity is restored, the central NVR tracks any gaps in the recording and automatically replenishes the missing data with the stored video.

Video Content Analysis
Cameras trained on the Mississippi river feature video content analysis (VCA) technology that uses real-time and recorded images and compares them with a database. The feature primarily helps to draw operators' attention to significant events such as behavior recognition, vehicle traffic volume and observation of suspicious static objects. This also helps reduce the amount of video traffic sent across the network. In the case of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, using VCA 'on-the-edge' means that only alarm video is transmitted. This could be caused by a vessel moving erratically up the shipping channel or an unauthorized ship present in the river. Once the analysis determines if the ship is a potential threat, an alarm notifies port security officers. Then, one of the PTZ cameras will automatically track that vessel as it makes its way upriver to port facilities. This technology reduces the amount of bandwidth required but enables all camera channels to be monitored effectively through intelligent video analysis.

Optimal Intergrated Security
Using video surveillance and content analysis, as well as access control, in conjunction with other security measures – such as those available from Bosch Security Systems – ensures optimal safety and security of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. Now, security personnel not only have increased security measures, but also a complete picture of the port's facilities, data sharing and access capabilities.

The Bosch/ISPS Initiative
The introduction of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code in 2004 signified a major milestone in maritime history. The ISPS code contains detailed, mandatory, security-related requirements for governments, port authorities and shipping companies together with a series of non-mandatory guidelines on how to meet these requirements. The ISPS code is crucial in the entire range of available anti-terrorist measures throughout the world. It provides a standardized framework for evaluating risk and enabling governments to combat threats to ships and port facilities. The code applies to all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) convention vessels over 500 gross tons on international voyages and all port facilities serving such ships.

In 2004 Bosch Division Security Projects in the Netherlands announced the formation of the Port Security Combination joint venture that comprises eight companies specializing in various safety and security applications and project management. Their joint objective is to provide state-of-the-art, turnkey security and surveillance solutions which conform to the ISPS code, for port authorities in selected countries.

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