Transus Intermodal trucking saves $500,000 guard costs with IP surveillance

Milestone software provides remote monitoring and control of container yards.


COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 26 July 2005.

Transus Intermodal has saved the exorbitant costs of round-the-clock guards and improved their control over security issues significantly. With its remote access capabilities and better overview of the yards, the surveillance is also a new management tool assisting with the dispatch of trucks, and ensuring greater customer satisfaction.

Transus Intermodal has to protect all shipments in transit against theft. Their 12 trucking container yards, located throughout the Southeast USA, tend to be in isolated areas that are dark at night. Guard services were very expensive and proved to be inadequate for their needs.

"We are most concerned about security at our depots, where the goods have been put in containers in between shipments at the docks before being picked up by the truckers. These goods are in transit and need to be protected. We had both attempts and actual thefts before, but a lot less of these incidences since we got the new security system," reports Mike Malikowski, VP Transportation & Logistics at Transus Intermodal.

For more than five years, Transus Intermodal has been happily using an IP video surveillance system with Milestone software for protecting their business in 12 locations including Atlanta, Charleston, Nashville, Dalton, Charlotte, Savannah, Memphis, Jacksonville, and Greenville. Incom Interactive Surveillance, an authorized Milestone partner based out of Atlanta, implemented the total security solution.

Transus Intermodal manages 325 trucks of which 90% are contracted, and the other 10% company-owned. They are responsible for storing and moving around 9,200 containers monthly.

Protection against theft

"When the loads are pulled off the ships at the ports and before our drivers come to get them, that’s where it’s critical, when we have a lot of loads sitting in waiting. The cameras are specifically angled at the containers and there’s only one way in or out of them, just as there’s only one way in or out of the yard," explains Malikowski.

"When the loads are pulled off the ships at the ports and before our drivers come to get them, that’s where it’s critical, when we have a lot of loads sitting in waiting. The cameras are specifically angled at the containers and there’s only one way in or out of them, just as there’s only one way in or out of the yard," explains Malikowski.
"We’re protecting Transus against ‘theft of opportunity’, those who pull up in a pickup truck or even a U-haul, crack a bunch of locks open until they see something they like, unload it and run off," says Tim Mueller, President at Incom Interactive Surveillance. "They’re looking for opportunities, but they’re not going to find them in Transus’ yards!"

Monitoring accidents, loading and damages

The company also needs to monitor for truck accidents. A driver sometimes pulls in too fast, knocks over a fence or pole, hitting a building as they drive in or out of the yards. The video surveillance can be used to document evidence of that and resolve any disputes.

The company also needs to monitor for truck accidents. A driver sometimes pulls in too fast, knocks over a fence or pole, hitting a building as they drive in or out of the yards. The video surveillance can be used to document evidence of that and resolve any disputes.
"There are procedures for checking containers in or out at the yards, which can be verified through the surveillance," says Mueller. "If people are working too fast and don’t catch everything in the checking process, that can cost the company thousands of dollars later on. Or if a driver takes a container that had damage, that damage is documented in advance so he’s not responsible on delivery of the damaged chassis to the customer."

IP surveillance replaces guards

Incom Interactive Surveillance has installed a mix of JVC network cameras, Pelco Specter 3 PTZ cameras and Sanyo stationary color cameras with good night-time visibility in each location. Milestone XProtect IP video surveillance software is used to schedule the cameras, to record on motion detection, and to view or manage the images archived in its database.

Incom Interactive Surveillance has installed a mix of JVC network cameras, Pelco Specter 3 PTZ cameras and Sanyo stationary color cameras with good night-time visibility in each location. Milestone XProtect IP video surveillance software is used to schedule the cameras, to record on motion detection, and to view or manage the images archived in its database.
"We used to have security guards at every facility all night long, which cost a lot – about $500,000 a year or more because we had to have them on weekends and holidays, round-the-clock, in addition to the weekdays. We save that money and have much better control over our security now," states Malikowski. "The guards weren’t reliable enough. We walked into our Charlotte location one night and found the security guard sleeping in his car and we had to wake him up!"

"Oh yeah, that’s typical," adds Mueller. "I’ve known guards who set an alarm clock to go off once every hour to wake them up for going on rounds. And walking around a site does not give the kind of total and simultaneous overview of an entire location that the camera surveillance can."

More than just security

"We started out using the surveillance just for the theft issues, but there are all these extra benefits like scanning the yards, fixing vehicles, checking if drivers have arrived," says Mike Malikowski, VP Transportation & Logistics at Transus Intermodal.

"We started out using the surveillance just for the theft issues, but there are all these extra benefits like scanning the yards, fixing vehicles, checking if drivers have arrived," says Mike Malikowski, VP Transportation & Logistics at Transus Intermodal.
They have also found the system useful when managing the logistical activities of the truckers on route, getting reports on the status of timing their schedules, truck break-downs, weather or traffic problems requiring diversions, etc. Likewise, the surveillance images can resolve disputes with the steamship companies, if they make claims about shipments not being handled on time or properly.

Securing customer satisfaction
"With customers, it always comes up: they ask what’s our security? We have shown the system to prospective customers who want to know how quickly trucks can get in and out of our locations. Tim sets them up with remote access to our surveillance and they can just click on the IP address anytime they want, look at the live images of our yards and gates to see how well we run our business. I know there have been customers who doubted what we’d say, but when we could let them look for themselves, there’s no question of the quality and speedy service. They are always impressed and satisfied with the 24-hour monitoring," continues Malikowski. "We don’t have many security issues anymore, so now we use it for all these extra things that help us run our business better. It helps us plan our overall operation more optimally."

"With customers, it always comes up: they ask what’s our security? We have shown the system to prospective customers who want to know how quickly trucks can get in and out of our locations. Tim sets them up with remote access to our surveillance and they can just click on the IP address anytime they want, look at the live images of our yards and gates to see how well we run our business. I know there have been customers who doubted what we’d say, but when we could let them look for themselves, there’s no question of the quality and speedy service. They are always impressed and satisfied with the 24-hour monitoring," continues Malikowski. "We don’t have many security issues anymore, so now we use it for all these extra things that help us run our business better. It helps us plan our overall operation more optimally."