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Access Control Systems: Drivers behind Port Activity

Written by:

Javier Arnaiz
Javier Arnaiz
Ingeniero Preventa en Ikusi Seguridad

Access Control Systems: Drivers behind Port Activity

Infrastructure Security

It has been some time since ports exceeded their traditional activity of loading and unloading merchandise and passengers to incorporate new functions. Think, for instance, of the logistics centers of today, infrastructures that improve the logistic efficiency of companies devoted to merchandise transport, as well as zones moving large volumes in production or sales.

Ports have become infrastructures strategic to the economy. In this context, different factors have to be taken into account, such as the real need to resolve security threats while maximizing resource efficiency with regard to operation. In other words, the maximum levels of security have to be ensured without interfering in activities and, in addition, the scenario for smooth traffic and the optimization of available resources has to be created.

To turn this scenario into reality, port infrastructure administrators rely on technological solutions. One of the strategic systems in these installations is access control. The conduct of efficient and secure operations depends on its proper design and implementation.

However, since the circumstances in which a port operates are variable, the system has to be sufficiently flexible and scalable to incorporate new control points, new users… All this without forgetting its needful integration with other platforms operated by the Port Authority, so as to ensure the efficient management of port processes – a philosophy that makes it mandatory for any technology-based solution to meet predefined integration standards.

Given this situation, it is necessary to incorporate the new capabilities of access control systems with regard to technical, operational, data access and interoperativity features. In addition to complying with the minimum requirements set by the Ministry of the Interior for the approval of Port Protection Plans, these systems make it possible to avail of a solid data source. Their operation facilitates subsequent analysis of entries, exits and stays for different user groups, whether these are habitual or sporadic. All this information improves operation, the user experience and the services rendered, optimizing and semi-automating the operational processes of control through data exchange with other systems. 

The Application of Access Control Technologies based on IoT (the Internet of Things)

IoT has arrived to stay, and that goes as well for port infrastructures.  The data supplied by automatic readers of license plates, containers, hazardous merchandise, personal access points, vehicle classification, etc. are compared with the information contained in different databases of diverse security and operations systems, executing the steps previously programmed by the administrator in real time and placing all this information at the service of port operations.

Every automated element of access is transmitted over IoT connections to the Port Authority, which, thanks to the smart tools of the business, is able to obtain indicators on the use of the infrastructure and its environmental or operational management, in addition to the dispatch of the data obtained to transport destination terminals and the raising of the barriers along the way, so that loading or unloading may be done fast and the vehicle sent en route as soon as possible.

The automated port access control systems based on IoT architecture are capable of simultaneously raising their level of security, optimizing entry and exit traffic and, in addition, serving as reliable data sources for the authorized operational systems of the business.

Access control technology, in its application to port installations – specifically in the field of security – operates in a scenario of constant change, all of it geared towards achieving suitable efficiency and optimizing each and every resource used. We cannot overlook the fact that the modernization and technological development undergone by the Spanish port system has contributed to decreasing the catalogue of risks associated to port activity.