GE and Siemens team up on container security

Thursday, January 26, 2006

SWITZERLAND--GE Security and Siemens' Building Technology Group announced in mid January a collaboration to expand both companies' reach into the shipping and container security market. In exchange for exclusive European marketing and distribution rights for CommerceGuard AB's container security device program, Siemens has acquired a minority stake in the GE subsidiary, which is also partly owned by the Japanese-based Mitsubishi.
CommerceGuard's device allows for containers to be sealed when they leave a manufacturer, with all door openings recorded. Readers then can access that data and post it to an online database that can be accessed by authorized personnel.
Jens Wegmann, president of security systems at SBT, said the deal would allow Siemens to follow through on the final part of a three-stage plan to enter the port security market. First Siemens developed video surveillance systems for ports, then created a nuclear-based scanning and detection system that's recently been introduced in Rotterdam, Germany.
"The third leg," said Wegmann, "was how can we participate in making global trade more secure?" He acknowledged that Siemens and GE are usually "tough competitors," but said the motivation for collaboration "is the overall threat to this container business ... No one can do it alone on a global scale." He noted that governments globally have been talking about securing the shipping process, but not making headway. So, "we felt if the big ones get together we have the opportunity to get something moving."
Also a plus for Siemens, said Wegmann, is that the company will also become the preferred integrator for CommerceGuard AB worldwide, so while Mitsubishi and GE might market and sell the product outside of Europe, it will be Siemens who is often doing the installation and integration work with manufacturers, importers, customs officials and port authorities.

See comment from GE and more from Wegmann in the March issue of Security Systems News.