The Panama Canal and its customs policies have made this a major cargo handling country. The Colón Free Trade Zone is the second largest free zone on the planet and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Here, the Mays Zona Libre company has a large 3-level, 400,000 square-meter, 6-warehouse complex.
That’s bigger than the mega Mall of America in Minnesota which has a 27-ride amusement park inside it!
This is where Global Cargo Panama operates in the west end of the complex, providing logistics and storage management for companies around the world.
“Global Cargo Panama contacted us a couple of years ago because they needed to monitor a 20,000 square-meter area of their warehouse with a system that would also allow them to extend their portfolio of services,” says Moshe Singer, General Manager of AST Group SA, the integrator company for the project.
Beyond Traditional Monitoring
Global Cargo Panama’s main objective was not just to protect itself from security threats – the goal was to find a tool to give their clients the peace of mind that their cargo was safe at all times.
AST Group strategically deployed Arecont Vision video cameras. Some were positioned in the entrance and three 180° SurroundVideo cameras went in the loading and unloading bays. MegaView 2MP and 360° Omni SurroundVideo multiview cameras were placed in central parts of the warehouse.
The different views delivered by these cameras are the “eyes of the project”. Their images are transferred to a Milestone Husky NVR pre-installed with XProtect video management software (VMS), which stores them for their chosen time period of up to three months. The video is archived on the server, and Milestone XProtect software also manages system users’ permissions to view specific areas.
“The software allows Global Cargo to send its customers a link with their respective username and password to verify their cargo. From a computer or mobile device, they can check the status of their goods and when it entered the warehouse, by which door, and if it has been moved, among other details,” explains Mr. Singer.
The Global Cargo staff also use this system to optimize logistics and security with motion status alerts that are delivered to their smartphones. And the personnel in charge of the system received extensive training.
“We emphasized the importance of the interactive training videos that Milestone offers on its website so the staff could refresh their knowledge of the software features whenever they needed to,” the general manager said.
How technology modernized a portfolio of services
With the new technology, Global Cargo Panama not just offers its clients real-time information on the status of their merchandise and its journey. They can also add services to the process chain in the same warehouse — for example, packaging, labeling, and clothing manufacturing.
AST Group made a license available for Milestone’s Mobile application, too. This can record video from a mobile device and send it directly to the Milestone XProtect server, so that video is accessible to authorized users.
“Not everything can be seen with the cameras. For example, if an operator opens a container and observes that the goods are damaged or in poor condition, he can take a video of it with Milestone Mobile on his phone, which gives real-time proof of the merchandise status when it arrived at the warehouse,” Mr. Singer added.
Milestone is open for future options
Both Global Cargo and Mays Zona Libre have shown interest in applying these solutions to other areas of the warehouses, including the entire complex. They are considering adding analytics such as plate reading for container analysis and tracking, streamlining traffic flow within the complex, locating cargo or counting trucks.
Such analytics can establish the real times of each process, to confirm if the shipping company delivered their cargo on time and document truck entries the complex, or other information. This can minimize user complaints and claims.
“These technologies allow the customers to grow at their own pace, and each company in the complex can manage its system independently. These flexible solutions allow me to tell the client that we can grow any way they want,” Mr. Singer concludes.
Read the full Global Cargo Panama customer story and see more images: