The British Ports Association (BPA), a group that represents UK ports, has introduced a new security alerts system that, for the first time, gives ports in the country the chance to routinely exchange security data in order to identify and detect crime.

Under the new system, BPA will inform others in the same area of the information given by ports on their activities. This will strengthen security measures and increase awareness of people or behaviours that are suspicious.

The UK ports’ trade value in 2010 was estimated to be over £340bn, according to the BPA market overview, leaving them susceptible to illegal conduct for financial benefit.

This improvement in security demonstrates a development in the maritime industry and is consistent with the evolution of contemporary technology.

This includes enabling warnings to be sent to any UK port while still requiring frequent verification by the BPA that the port has a valid need for the information.

Additionally, before it is provided to the proper port security specialists, the BPA also verifies that the data is accurate.

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By GlobalData

Richard Ballantyne, CEO of BPA and chair of the UK Government’s national maritime security committee, noted: “We’re pleased that the BPA is able to support ports across the UK in quickly sharing information that can help to prevent and detect criminal activity.

“The success of the system depends on ports making use of it and I encourage all ports to participate, both in signing up to receive alerts and circulating information when appropriate. The BPA will continue to explore policies and initiatives for tackling challenges and improving security at our maritime gateways.”

This technology completes the current reporting process, in which ports notify the government of occurrences. 

BPA collaborates closely with various government security teams as well as the security section of the Department for Transport.

Andy Billings, head of security at ABP, highlights how the collaboration of the representative of UK ports and different ports throughout the UK will strengthen the maritime sector and enhance security.

Billings said: “I’m delighted that the industry is taking a proactive approach to improving security at our ports. This is a new dynamic approach to collaboration within the industry where ports can share information to help protect each other across the sector.

“UK ports share a common aim in deterring and preventing criminal activity, whether that is cargo theft or smuggling. As a sector, we already work closely with law enforcement and government agencies and this initiative, proposed, and led by industry, is a step forward.”