Pallet Security Wraps for Airliners Receive DHS Seal of Approval

By Stew Magnuson
Congress in 2007 mandated that all cargo flying aboard commercial airliners be screened for explosives.

Jeff Garfinkle, president of Sentina Corp., had previously worked on a product to wrap shipping pallets. He wondered once they had been screened, how security personnel could ensure that they had not been tampered with.

“It created an opportunity in my mind — and I think in many people’s minds — for bad guys to do something to cargo pallets after they have been screened,” he said.

He then developed the Freight Glove, a durable, plastic encasing that can be vacuum wrapped, then shut with a tamper proof seal.

The Department of Homeland Security recently granted the product Safety Act approval as a “qualified anti-terrorism technology,” which gives it liability protection in the event that it fails to perform as specified during a terrorist attack. To receive approval, companies must provide the department data proving their product works.

The Freight Glove underwent a year of operational tests on British Airways flights, Garfinkle said. The airline used them for about a year to test their durability.

It actually solves two problems. For shippers, theft and water damage are major issues. The seal and wrapping cannot prevent theft, but it is a deterrent, he said. Pallets are normally wrapped in stretchable plastic, but they are not airtight. The Freight Glove prevents water from getting in, and would make it immediately apparent if someone had cut open the wrapper or broken the seal.

Two early adopters of the product have been British Airways and Procter & Gamble, he said. The wrappers cost about $400 each and are reusable. Shippers who want to re-use them must figure out a way to have them returned, he said.

A standard vacuum can be used to seal the bags, which can also be custom designed for various sizes. Sentina is currently partnering with a company he did not name to add a trace explosives detection capability to the vacuum, which could pick up the chemical signatures of hidden bombs as it seals the pallet, he said.

Topics: Homeland Security, Air Transportation, RailMass Transit, Science and Technology, Science and Engineering Technology, Homeland Security

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