Secure Hybrid Composite Maritime Shipping Container

(University of Maine – Advanced Structures and Composites Center)

The University of Maine has designed and built a Secure Hybrid Composite Maritime Shipping Container (SHYCC). It is the first secure intermodal composite shipping container that provides six-sided intrusion detection, real-time tracking, door opening alerts, and secure global communication. This technology enables government agencies and commercial high-value good producers to fight tampering by sophisticated adversaries or terrorist organizations, and minimize loss from theft, damage, or spoilage. No shipping container is available today that offers all of the security features of SHYCC desired by these customers, particularly full six-sided tamper detection. The patented SHYCC technology uses weldable composite panels allowing composites to be processed in existing steel container manufacturing facilities. The SHYCC design keeps the steel frame, corner castings, and door hardware features of a conventional container while the wall, roof, and floor panels are replaced with composite panels with embedded intrusion detection grids. Composites reduce the weight of the container by 20% and protect the embedded intrusion sensors from damage in the shipping environment. The ultimate goal of the container is to provide the level of security to law enforcement officials to ensure weapons, contraband, or other materials have not been inserted into the container for smuggling into the US. Within the commercial shipping environment there is $50-$60B of cargo theft every year, approximately half — $25B to $30B — occurs in the US. High value product shippers of electronics and pharmaceuticals are the most common targets. SHYCC is the first ISOcertified composite shipping container. It offers advanced security features while meeting all the operational, structural, and customs requirements of standard steel 20ft and 40ft shipping containers. It is fully and seamlessly interchangeable with existing steel shipping containers and is visually indistinguishable from a steel container.