A new security card system is being utilised at the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium. Alfapass is replacing an old biometric system with Lumidigm V-Series fingerprint readers.
The Port of Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port, while Zeebrugge is the central port for Europe’s automotive industry and has the largest liquefied natural gas terminal complex in Europe. Alfapass is now in the process of enrolling 17,000 truck drivers and 10,000 longshoremen at the two ports on the new system.
A major access control function at the port facilities is the unique identification of individuals in a more efficient manner, especially for those who travel between multiple port facilities. The solution is a single ID card that covers all facilities rather than a different entrance card for each company at the port. Therefore, visitors to both Belgian ports carry a smart card from Alfapass which includes the visitor’s biometric template. When reading the card, each individual facility has the option of also verifying the fingerprint stored on the card. By checking and verifying the fingerprint, facility personnel can assure that the card is being presented by its rightful owner.
“We have been using biometrics since 2005 but we needed a better solution to provide increased security that is easier for port visitors to use,” said Piet Hadermann, Alfapass operations manager.
“Our former technology could not differentiate one person from another at the level of certainty and security we require. The false acceptance rate was much too high. Plus, some people, especially infrequent visitors, would forget how to use it from visit to visit. With the Lumidigm units, visitors intuitively put their fingers on the illuminated blue light, even when using self-service units.”
All port visitors are now being enrolled – from longshoremen to ship’s chaplains – with the Lumidigm fingerprint readers. The biometric readers are placed and used at port registration offices and administrative kiosks located at the in-gate for truck drivers and elsewhere an Alfapass card can be used. Alfapass enrolls user cards with two fingerprints, assuring that if there is a problem with the primary finger, the user can simply sign in with the alternate finger. The kiosk or access control device can also ask for the second finger.
Using the Alfapass system, when a card is lost or stolen, or the person no longer works for the company, the card is automatically blocked at all participating facilities. No longer can the ex-employee or person who stole or found the card get into the ports. Only card holders that also pass the biometric check-in are able to enter. Fraud is virtually impossible.