Private Marine Terminal in Houston, Texas, Blends Security Center with Identification Credentials and Thermal Cameras for Strict Perimeter Security at Gates, Docks and Railways
The Business Challenge
Manchester Terminal, LLC is a 72.5-acre private marine terminal located at the intersection of the Houston Ship Channel and Sims Bayou. At the terminal, a stevedore company is contracted to handle the loading and unloading of break bulk cargo and to manage the transportation logistics from inbound and outbound trucks and rail.
Manchester Terminal's management team must ensure that the entire grounds and warehouses are conducive to highly-efficient operations, while at the same time meeting the strict requirements outlined in their Facility Security Plan mandated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
To maintain its solid reputation as a secure and efficient marine terminal for companies around the globe, Manchester Terminal decided to invest a large financial sum to upgrade its facilities and perimeter security by implementing the government-run security program Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The TWIC program provides a tamper-resistant biometric credential to maritime workers requiring unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities.
In the process, the company also wanted to upgrade their video surveillance system to newer IP technology which would facilitate long-term growth and accommodate cutting-edge video devices such as thermal cameras for better nighttime visibility and intruder detection.
"We are a fully restricted facility and pride ourselves on having some of the most progressive technology in the industry to help secure our clients' assets," said Vincent Pilegge, President at Manchester Terminal LLC. "But it's not just about us; we're also conscious of the fact that there are several refineries right next door, and so safeguarding our facility also means that we are helping to protect our neighbours' assets and the community at large."
When it came down to selecting the new IP security solution, Manchester Terminal's team relied on the knowledge of highly-qualified engineers and consultants. They also engaged Genetec certified integrator, Preferred Technologies, who suggested the Security Center unified platform and according to Pilegge: "We ran with it!"
Restricted Marine Terminal Goes High-Tech
The decision to implement Security Center provides Manchester Terminal with easy management of both Omnicast IP video surveillance and the Synergis access control systems from a single unified back and front end. Spread throughout the expansive marine terminal are around 70 IP cameras which include AXIS Q6035-E PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) Dome Network Cameras, Pelco Sarix and SightLogix SightSensor thermal cameras, covering front gates, docks, waterways and facilities. The SightSensor thermal cameras with video analytics were specifically chosen to accurately detect intruders entering the perimeter, day and night. Fully integrated, the SightLogix thermal cameras can generate alarms within the Omnicast system when movement that violates security policy is detected.
On the access control side, Synergis manages several access control readers; five of which secure the entries and exits of their main operations facility, while the remainder are TWIC-compliant Rhino access control readers from Innometriks installed at the main gates. Instead of doing basic manual verifications of TWIC credentials, Manchester Terminal has taken things a step further by automating the authentication process with these high-tech readers. This streamlines the flow of traffic while only allowing authorized individuals onto their property.
According to Shaun Castillo, President at Pref Tech, "We also developed a custom integration between Genetec Security Center and TWIC-compliant handheld readers with identification and biometric matching software from IdSoftware. With hundreds of trucks coming and going, these handhelds allow the security guards to process credentials and inspect trucks that are lined up beyond the fixed TWIC readers, keeping the flow of traffic moving. The handhelds also allow them to go to the ship docs and check credentials for people coming off ships and spot check compliance around the facility."
The flexibility and openness of Security Center also gave Manchester Terminal the ability to easily integrate a brand new Asterisk Voice-over-IP (VoIP) intercom system, which is linked to their VoIP phone system. "This intercom integration lets operators make calls to VoIP intercom stations to directly address patrons who require assistance or who do not have the proper credentials to enter the facility. Security Center will also automatically associate the audio recording with the video device that is capturing the discussion," continues Castillo.
Other important features of the system for Manchester Terminal included Plan Manager, the map-based interface which lets guards easily find cameras on their expansive grounds, and the remote access capabilities offered to select management staff who can pull up video at any given moment, from anywhere in the world.
Unification Gets Stamp of Approval
With their unified security platform in place, Manchester Terminal is not only keeping their facility operating at peak efficiency but also exceeding the requirements outlined in their Facility Security Plan.
"Thanks to this new technology, we have been able to add extra layers of security measures to our marine terminal, so no one can enter our property without the necessary credentials or being escorted," explains Pilegge. "The TWIC-compliance aspect has also made it much easier for our guards to conduct proper authentication by relying on government-issued credentials and actual thumb prints."
Simplifying day-to-day tasks has also been extended to the operation teams. With Security Center, Manchester Terminal has been able to significantly reduce the amount of manual logging and paperwork when keeping track of trucks, visitors and employees. Now, key personnel can automatically generate electronic reports for quick review, saving them considerable time.
With future plans to expand their security system by adding devices and capabilities, Manchester Terminal is confident in their choice: "Having a unified platform with both video and access control affords us the ability to make more accurate and quick decisions. Today, we have a very robust security system with the flexibility to grow. Security Center was a great long-term investment for our facility," concludes Pilegge.