Belgian and Dutch ports entrust security to biometric smart cards

Belgian and Dutch ports entrust security to biometric smart cards

Under the International Maritime Organization's International Code for the Security of Ships and of Port Facilities, Belgian and Dutch seaports have turned to smart cards and biometric systems to help track access by employees and visitors across private terminals. Port of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium recently replaced its old biometric system at registration stations with Lumidigm multispectral imaging fingerprint readers. The Port of Antwerp is Europe's second largest port, while Zeebrugge is the central port for Europe's automotive industry and has the largest liquefied natural gas terminal complex in Europe. Alfapass, the provider of security smart card system at the ports, is in the process of enrolling 17,000 truck drivers and 10,000 longshoremen at the two ports on the new system.

The Port of Antwerp has been using a biometric system since 2005, but the former system could not differentiate one person from another at the required level of certainty and security and had high FAR, explained Piet Hadermann, Operations Manager for Alfapass. One major access control requirement at the port was the efficient identification of individuals that travel between multiple port facilities.

The solution was a single ID card that covers all facilities. Therefore, visitors to both Belgian ports carry an Alfapass smart card that includes the visitor's biometric template. By checking and verifying the information stored on the card, facility personnel can assure that the card is being presented by its rightful owner. Alfapass enrolls user cards with two fingerprints. When a card is lost or stolen, or the person no longer works for the company, the card is automatically blocked from all participating facilities. All port visitors are now being enrolled with the Lumidigm fingerprint readers. The readers are placed and used at port registration offices and administrative kiosks located at the “gate in” for truck drivers and elsewhere.

Previously, The Port of Antwerp deployed a hand geometry access control system from Ingersoll Rand that recognizes a person hand's 3D features. The system consisted of 71 individual terminals, and issued more than 8,000 credentials. RFID smart cards stored employee information, work experience, access restrictions and biometric identifier. The system's open architecture design enabled terminals to integrate additional security and safety technologies, such as video surveillance and time-and-attendance. In addition, a web-based card management system was used to carry out the credentialing process across the terminals and other systems.

In 1998, a similar Ingersoll system was installed in Port of Rotterdam in Netherlands. As one of Europe's largest container ports, the port required an access control system that was robust enough to withstand the North Sea's severe weather conditions, easy for truckers and stevedores to use, fraud-proof, portable and flexible enough to integrate with the port's logistics systems. Ruggedized biometric readers were installed at the port's gates, plants, loading docks, staging areas and other critical entry points to meet this demand.

Ingersoll outlined the hand geometry system was chosen because of its automatic identification capacity, and because truck drivers refused to use iris recognition. The system was also more accurate than fingerprint recognition and offered lower FAR when used en masse, claimed Ingersoll. Drivers were issued smart cards that were embedded with chips that contained their personal personal identification, company information and a biometric template of the driver's left hand. Implementation of the system has helped the Dutch port avoid costly transport delays while ensuring security.


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