Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2018.
The verification of the container identification code is done at the entry and/or exit of a terminal gate. The process uses the Container Identification System to ensure that the right container gets picked up or delivered. On the above photo, an operator is manning a verification station at the gate of a container port terminal in Balboa, Panama (Manzanillo International Terminal). The remotely controlled closed circuit video feed on the left side displays the Container Identification Code, which is a zoom of the upper right side of the back of the container. The same screen displays bill of lading information related to this container. The left screen displays mainly the yard storage allocation for the inbound containers. The operator also has an intercom to communicate with the truck driver waiting at the gate.
In recent years, the verification technology has improved notably through optical character recognition, implying that the container identification code is read electronically and the operator insures that the sequence has been read without error, which requires the intervention of an operator only if there is an error or mismatch. There was also a convergence with the video feed, the information system and the intercom been all part of the same computer system (digital audio and video). Eventually, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) may remove the need to visually read the container identification code.