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Container security through embedded IT systems

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Container transport is the backbone of the international freight traffic. Sea and inland waterway transport is closely linked to rail and road transport. This results in multimodal transport chains. The increasing, also global, network of heterogeneous logistics systems also creates security risks. This is what the project ContainIT focusses on: Combining efficient ICT solutions for logistics with innovative security solutions. The solutions are based on scenarios, such as a terrorist act or sabotage. Furthermore, a lack of transparency in the logistic chain and problems with the traceability of goods as well as inadequate availability of relevant data can also lead to disruptions or failures in the supply of goods.


The goal of the ContainIT project is the design of an open, standards-based IT architecture for freight logistics in order to connect existing stand-alone solutions. This architecture should contain functions for the early detection of dangerous situations for container transports. This includes the traceability of the physical handling of the container, the management of the relevant documents and the data exchange along the logistics chain. Organizational, technical and legal aspects are included in the research.

An IT-based, systematic collection of individual information for the entire logistics chain should lead to a holistic picture of the situation. With this, disturbances and abnormalities in the freight transportation chain can be identified immediately and the resulting risks can be assessed. Transport chains can also be optimized in this way.


The ContainIT project was divided into 3 subprojects:

  • information and communications technology, ICT
  • integrated risk management
  • cost-benefit analysis and prototype

Through the integration of leading industrial partners, a high relevance for real-life applications was achieved.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Over the course of the project and through discussions with end users and the authorities, it became clear that, in addition to the attack scenario from the outside (for example cyberattacks or the burglary into the container), the scenario of inside attacks has to be given increased attention.

Three major scenarios in the context of terrorism and (organized and serious) criminology were developed for container transport:

  • The container as an instrument of attack
  • container usage for illegal transport/smuggling
  • The container as a target of theft, combined with ransom money payments.

For these three scenarios, the ContainIT project provided a holistic concept. The functionality of the concept was proven by a prototype of a transport surveillance system, containing a software application which can be used by smartphones.

Findings of the study are published in detail by several final reports of the project partners (German only) which are available online via the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB):

EADS Deutschland GmbH – Innovation Works, München:

Bosch Sicherheitssysteme GmbH, Frankfurt:

SAPPER INSTITUT für interaktive Lernsysteme GmbH, Kempen:

Funkwerk eurotelematik GmbH, Ulm:

Technische Hochschule Wildau (FH):

SAP AG, Karlsruhe:

Astrium GmbH, Bremen:

DAKOSY Datenkommunikationssystem AG, Hamburg:

dbh Logistics IT AG, Bremen:

Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, Darmstadt:


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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