Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Air Cargo Security Forum Facilitated Workshop Report

Technical Support and Assistance for the
FHWA Operations Core Business Unit

Prepared for:
FHWA, Office of Freight Management

Prepared by:
Transportation Division

December 2003

This report is a work prepared for the United States Government by Battelle. In no event shall either the United States Government or Battelle have any responsibility or liability for any consequences of any use, misuse, inability to use, or reliance on the information contained herein, nor does either warrant or otherwise represent in any way the accuracy, adequacy, efficacy, or applicability of the contents hereof.

Table of Contents

Topic 1: Outcomes and Implications
Topic 2: Challenges and Benefits
Topic 3: Regional Position and Capacity to Participate
Topic 4: Goals/Next Steps
Workshop Participants
Appendix 1

Air Cargo Security Forum Facilitated Workshop Report


In late 2002, the Electronic Supply Chain Manifest (ESCM) demonstration project in Chicago - New York was completed.  It entailed the integration of biometrics and smart cards with secured internet transactions for the air cargo industry. This technology demonstration effort was intended to show that improved security for cargo in the surface to air regime was possible while concurrently increasing the efficiency and productivity of the supply chain participants.  We understand that the scope of ESCM was too limited to generate dependable conclusions about the applicability of the technology across the regime, and in particular about issues like naming standards and data standards.  The results of the project do seem to indicate that significant benefits can be derived from:

  1. Wider implementation of the technology
  2. The integration of additional technologies
  3. The development of standards which would help simplify the adoption of the technology by a wide variety of users.

Battelle conducted a highly-focused meeting of supply chain stakeholders to review the ESCM project, its objectives and outcomes, and to consider the benefits that could be derived from an enhanced demonstration program. The forum included 34 attendees from Industry, Government, Academia, and special interest organizations. The forum took place over two days, gathering during the morning of day one, working that afternoon and again the next morning.  The meeting concluded approximately mid-day two so that participants could readily make connections for transportation home. This document provides the summary results of the workshop.

The recommendations of this forum and any projected follow-on activities will be coordinated with the ongoing efforts of the Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group and research partners from related and ongoing efforts.


The forum followed a structured agenda and used the guiding services of a professional facilitator.  The detailed agenda helped to capture the ideas and opinions of industry professionals.  They considered the results and recommendations from ESCM.  We sought out their reactions to the outcomes, and their advice regarding current practice and challenges in their daily operations.

The general agenda provided four major topics for the discussion; each was initiated with specific questions designed to focus the exchange within the intended context of the Forum.

  1. Outcomes and Implications
  2. Industry Challenges and Benefits
  3. Regional Position and Capacity to Participate
  4. Goals and Next Steps

Using the technical resources of a groupware system, the facilitation team captured the dialogue of the meeting participants electronically. Four scribes were active during the sessions, to ensure that an accurate record of industry viewpoints and perspectives would be available as basis for future activities. Following each day's sessions, the recorded comments of the participants were sorted into categorical groups. This report presents a summary of the four topic areas. The detailed responses are also provided in the Appendix of this report.

At the outset, the attendees were asked to consider what their two or three greatest issues were in logistics operations. The intent was to focus business thought on operations, rather than legal or financial issues. Toward the close of the forum, they were offered the opportunity to relate the possible benefits of ESCM technology to addressing those major business issues. The responses, contained in Topic 2, seemed to indicate recognition that this technology could be a contributor to business efficiency and solutions.

Topic 1: Outcomes and Implications

The attendees had been briefed on the conduct of the Electronic Supply Chain Manifest project both prior to and at the opening of the forum. With the concepts of ESCM as a point of departure, the discussion began with a guiding question: Why are the ESCM project outcomes and implications important for your business?

The participants fully engaged the topic from their business perspectives. The recorded comments were ultimately sorted into the following categories:

  • Business Size Sensitivity - would implementation favor large vs. small organizations
  • Competitive Edge - Apparently, the added tracking information would provide marketplace advantages
  • Investment - exploring how much money and staff resources would be needed
  • Data Sensitivity - expressed concerns for protecting proprietary information vs. information sharing
  • Automation - perceived speed and consistency of business processes
  • Stages of Implementation - Segmenting the work might ease burdens of implementation
  • Process Issues - How a business performs its functions need to accounted for in the use of the system
  • Compliance/Regulatory - Meeting government requirements proactively can be an extra value to businesses
  • Business Case - need to consider Costs/Benefits/Performance
  • Asset Visibility - Knowing where the cargo is, would be a quantum improvement
  • Security Attributes - Protecting the carriers and the cargo from a variety of threats

The forum readily established a consensus that the ESCM approach could well have positive implications for their respective business operations.

Topic 2: Challenges and Benefits

After broadly discussing the implications of ESCM for their businesses, the participants were led by the question: If technology such as ESCM were available to you, what would be the issues surrounding making it work in your organization?

The participants fully engaged the topic from their business perspectives. The recorded comments were ultimately sorted into the following categories:

  • Integration - getting the new system working with legacy systems, realizing the many variations that exist
  • Training - Adaptation by the workforce to amended practices and work routines
  • Business Processes - matching system use to how a business performs its functions
  • Data Sensitivity - Protecting proprietary information vs. sensible information sharing
  • Information visibility - getting the right information at the right time to the right people
  • Standardization - levels of uniformity vs. competitive edge from unique methods
  • Regulated Parties - Who has to comply, and market forces for cooperation
  • Chain Of Custody - Accountability and title of cargo are particularly interesting issues
  • Reliability and Redundancy - What happens when the computers are down

A second guiding question was: Could technology such as ESCM solve any of your current business challenges?

Discussion was recorded in the following categories:

  • Compliance - Meeting government requirements more readily with usual business information
  • Data Visibility - getting the right information at the right time to the right people
  • Marketplace - Inducing business partners to cooperate even if they're not regulated
  • Economics - expect an impact on the bottom line if the tools are in-place
  • Access to Technology - different prospects for the Technology Haves vs. Have-Nots

The forum participants developed a significant opinion that the use of such technology would be beneficial to the degree that a competitive advantage would accrue from improved asset visibility, speed and reliability of process, and assurances of regulatory compliance.

Topic 3: Regional Position and Capacity to Participate

In this topic area there were two guiding questions. They were posed concurrently for the purpose of generating a considered posture by the participants with regard to a possible future project. If there were another Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), why should it be held in Columbus? Do we or don't we have the "right" people in Columbus who can make themselves available to participate in an ATD?

Discussion and commentary fell into the following categories:

  • Diversity of Participants - A full array of supply chain players are found in the area
  • Additional Stakeholders - Considered other related stakeholders such as planning commission, and federal interests
  • Project Scope - reviewed what is involved technically, and selected tangential issues such as hazmat regulations
  • Investment - How much will it cost - scale, what form of investment- labor or dollars?
  • Regional opportunities - Take advantage of growth in logistics in the region
  • Regional Diversity - A variety of inter-modal transportation exists
  • Purpose -What we are trying to accomplish is improved manifesting
  • Reservations - Issues/Concerns for synergy among participants
  • Public/Private partnership - How do we form the relationships, how is funding handled
  • Regulatory Curve - Being proactive vs. reactive is a high motivator, and an assurance that the regulator won't diverge later is key
  • Related Projects - Other technologies that have been tried or are in test currently
  • Data Visibility - Getting the right information to the right people at the right time
  • Structure - Who does what

Collectively the participants generated an opinion that a future project would fit well in the regional logistics community, and there are relevant issues regarding the risks to participants given the likely required investments. Nonetheless, the panel recognized that a regional implementation effort could have national level impacts on cargo security measures and still improve logistics productivity of the involved stakeholders. There was significant curiosity about the form of public-private partnership that would be used to undertake the ATD, understandable given that most of the forum participants rarely undertake such projects, sponsored by the government and shared by both sectors.

Topic 4: Goals/Next Steps

The discussions in the first three topic areas were then recapped for the forum, presenting the categories of comments, and refreshing them as to issues and opinions. Having generated some positive inclinations to undertaking a future project, the discussion then moved toward potential goals with the following guiding questions. If we were to undertake a future project, what would it look like? What are the next steps?

With some reflection on past projects, similar and related, the discussion fell in the following categories:

  • Structure - who does what, how is a project described
  • Contract vehicle - in probable format of a Public/Private partnership
  • Scope and roles - What/Who would be involved, roles befitting the business of each stakeholder
  • Related project information - Websites and reports that show examples of efforts by others and roles performed
  • Feedback communication - Keeping each other up-to-date, maintaining awareness and momentum
  • Quality - Measuring the benefits of the system, use internal audit function
  • Next steps - Early action items to further the goals

Action items selected were:

  • Battelle and the Advanced Logistics Council will provide the early coordination while stakeholders consider their opportunity and ability to be involved.
  • ALC will brief other council members on the Forum to gain and gauge their interests in a potential project.
  • Battelle and ALC will begin to define the interests and roles of the stakeholders.
  • Battelle and ALC will discuss the identified interests and roles of the stakeholders with the federal agency partners
  • Establish a project formulation team.

Workshop Participants:
Name Company Email
Ben Ritchey Battelle
Bob Acker Battelle
Brian Burris McGraw-Hill
Cuneyt Eroglu OSU
Dan Eisen Battelle
Dan Stock SAIC
David Fitzpatrick Booz Allen Hamilton
David Powell Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce
David Whitaker Columbus Regional Airport Authority  
Don Bernard    
Frank Reed, Jr. Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff
Hugh Riley Norfolk Southern Corporation  
Jeff Lehman Battelle
Joe Jumayao Qualcomm
John Calandra Exel Global Logistics
John Shkor TSA  
Kate Wahl ATRI
Kathryn Harrington-Hughes ENO Transportation Institute
Kerry May Norfolk Southern Corporation
Larry Woolum Ohio Trucking Association
Leslie Weilbacher Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Holland Hellmann Worldwide Logistics
Michael Sherman Limited Logistic Services  
Mike Chase Tractics
Mike Onder US DOT
Patrick Bauer FHWA-Ohio  
Paul Belella Delcan, Inc.
Paul Busick Battelle
Randy Betz Redleg's, Inc.
Steve Lister Airnet Systems
Suzanne Rhodes ODOT
Tom Barnhart BCC
Walter Zinn OSU

September 24-25, 2003
The Blackwell at OSU
Columbus, Ohio


September 24
Morning: Arrivals and Greetings
12:00-1:00 Luncheon
Welcome Remarks - Advanced Logistics Council
Keynote: VADM John Shkor, COO, TSA
1:00-2:00 Review ESCM Project
Mike Onder/FHWA, Dan Murray/ATRI, Lee Jackson/TSA
2:00-5:00 Facilitated Discussion, Battelle
Outcomes and Implications
(ESCM Stakeholder Call-in Opportunity)
Industry Challenges and Benefits
Regional Position and Capacity to Participate
6:00-8:00 Dinner Limited Brands
Hosted by Nick LaHowchic, President and CEO,
Limited Logistics Services


September 25
8:30-11:30 Summary of Discussions
Recap, Clarifications and Additions
11:30-1:00 Lunch - Elaine Roberts, President and CEO,
Columbus Regional Airport Authority
1:00-2:00 Wrap up
Outline Potential Goals
Identify Next Steps
2:00 Concluding Remarks
Advanced Logistics Council and Mike Onder/FHWA

Appendix 1
Office of Operations