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Georgia Ports Authority Testing Security Devices

To increase the security of the nation's seaports, several devices are currently being tested at the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) through the state's Maritime Logistics Innovation Center (MLIC).

The MLIC is one of a few organizations able to develop maritime-related solutions by testing university research and privately-developed technologies in an active port environment.

"We ask the maritime and logistics industry leaders what keeps them awake at night, and then we take those issues to the problem-solvers - universities and small businesses - for answers. We also develop solutions for particular areas identified by the Department of Homeland Security," said Page Siplon, director of MLIC. "Right now, we're working on several projects relating to tracking and location as well as creating a safer, more secure work environment."

A current pilot project is the "Cyber Tracker," a device developed by Homeland Integrated Security Systems to track drivers' activities to, from and while in the port's berths. "The MLIC project has exceeded our expectations to this point," said Frank Moody, CEO of Homeland Security Systems. "We hope to show the maritime industry that we have the technology necessary to keep a watchful eye on port security."

Final testing of the Cyber Tracker was concluded Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the port located in Savannah.

Established in 2003, the Maritime Logistics Innovation Center is a partnership between private industry, academia and government authorities working together to cultivate and promote economic development within Georgia. The center works with industry leaders and experts to identify, create and implement technological advancements and solutions for the maritime community.

The logistics center is also working on a pilot project for tracking containers and on a prototype identification card for transportation workers, an initiative of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee. The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program is intended to be nationally implemented as the primary means of identification at critical transportation facilities. Other pilot projects include testing technologies that monitor the activity and location of port equipment and machinery.

"We're extremely proud of the cutting-edge programs the Maritime Logistics Innovation Center is developing and advancing to improve security in our nation's ports," said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Innovation breeds economic development, and no state in the country cultivates innovation better than Georgia."

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