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Gary M. Barraco
Global Product Marketing
Amber Road

Supply Chain Comment

Gary M. Barraco
Director, Global Product Marketing
Amber Road

Gary is responsible for developing strategic product marketing direction and presenting the Amber Road brand and solutions worldwide. As the platform evangelist, Gary develops and launches customer insights, go-to-market plans, product messaging and content, and field marketing tactics which establish Amber Road’s solutions as a standard in the Global Trade Management space.

Previously, Gary was VP, Industry Development for ecVision for 9 years prior to its acquisition by Amber Road. He also held marketing positions with tech companies where he was instrumental in implementing programs that yielded exponential growth and spearheaded alliance relationships with a range of third-party organizations. He has 20 years of active military service where his primary specialty was providing marketing support to Army National Guard recruiting and retention operations in New Jersey.

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May 9, 2019

Cargo Threats Need Closer Attention

New Cargo Screening Algorithms are Available to Streamline the Product Screening Process


A few weeks ago, published a new market study titled “Global Air Cargo Security Equipment Market 2018” noting the global market for air cargo security equipment is forecast to grow exponentially in the coming years because of mounting security concerns. Some of the technology they discuss includes human-heartbeat detection systems, x-ray systems, and others.


Barraco Says...

Global trade requires that companies keep up with ever-changing regulations and standards of reasonable care to maintain their trade privilege. 

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However, meticulous cargo screening can’t stop at the physical; the global logistics industry is challenged with global trade regulations related to Know Your Customer (KYC) screening to ensure shipments are not carried to a sanctioned party, as well as complying with non-proliferation of dual-use goods related to shipping a product that is not authorized for general trade.  Furthermore, Customs authorities are increasingly looking at the efficacy of systems and controls to pass judgment on whether a global logistics provider (LP) is in compliance. For example, the widespread use of "exact matching" screening algorithms on names and addresses was recently found, and its continued use can result in escalating fines.

As an international LP, it may seem from the outside like your task is simple: move goods from one place to another. However, as an insider, you know there's nothing simple about it, especially when it comes to compliance. Risk levels have increased, and so have the regulations that hold you liable for the products you carry, the parties shipping them, and how the recipient can use them. You need to be able to prove you took every reasonable precaution not to transact with restricted persons, move goods to or from specific regions, or transport certain goods across borders without a license. That’s a daunting task. If there’s a gap anywhere in your process, you face serious consequences.

The problem is that the shippers’ manifests or waybills are seldom detailed enough to determine the potential risks. The terminology used in government regulations may not match the nomenclature used on standard shipping documents, even when they refer to the same goods. Shippers may use aliases, and government guidelines can change daily. To get the right level of detail, you may have to review tens of thousands of documents (or more) each month to manually classify the goods you're moving against country-specific product codes. Then you need to compare the data against source and destination rules, ensure that your search has also accounted for synonyms, and solicit shippers for the documentation for each transaction to safeguard against audit risks.

New cargo screening algorithms are available in leading global trade management platforms that use natural language processing and other techniques to interrogate product descriptions and determine if the goods being shipped are of concern.  To add intelligence to these algorithms, trade content data provides the rules for screening. When a product description is screened the algorithm will, based on millions of data points, come up with a risk score. In addition to screening parties to the transaction and product descriptions, the solution is extensible and can develop a risk score for additional inputs such as a shipment’s proximity to a conflict zone.  Risks scores are aggregated based on a configuration to develop an overall risk index to determine whether a shipment should be flagged for further review.  These concerns can then be resolved with manual intervention.

Global trade requires that companies keep up with ever-changing regulations and standards of reasonable care to maintain their trade privilege. In addition to the scanning and x-ray systems in place for physical security screening, a comprehensive screening solution with trade content libraries offers a stable supply chain risk platform for global logistics providers.

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