In a significant move to bolster port security, the Belgian Ministry of Justice has recognized two companies for their advanced biometric access control systems. This development marks a crucial step in the fight against drug smuggling and unauthorized access in Belgian ports.
The Legal Framework and Its Necessity
The maritime security law, effective since January 1, has laid the foundation for this new security measure. The law addresses a critical vulnerability in the existing system – the ease of badge and access code exploitation. Minister of Justice and the North Sea, Paul Van Tigchelt, emphasizes the importance of this law in ensuring that only authorized personnel access sensitive port areas, thereby hindering the efforts of drug smugglers and other malicious entities.
Unlike, for example, the Port of Rotterdam, the Port of Antwerp is much more difficult to secure due to its open nature with many access roads. That's why it's important that we have focused on much stricter and more efficient security of our ports with the maritime security law. This law provides, among other things, better perimeter security with more and better fencing, cameras, and now also the use of biometric data for access control, among other things.
Paul Van Tigchelt, Minister of Justice and the North Sea
This groundbreaking law is Belgium's first legal framework for processing biometric data in port security. It outlines strict conditions for companies to use biometric data, ensuring privacy and security. Recognized organizations must adhere to stringent rules, such as prohibiting the central or unencrypted storage of biometric data, to prevent potential data breaches.
Recognition of NineID
NineID emerged as one of the first two companies to receive official recognition from the Minister of the North Sea. The approval, advised by the National Authority for Maritime Security, came after thorough vetting by DG Scheepvaart and the Center for Cybersecurity. From November 1, these companies are authorized to process biometric data and offer their services to port companies.
We are delighted to receive the very first recognition to provide biometric access control in Belgian ports. It is a clear proof of the reliability of our biometric access control system and confirms our commitment to delivering advanced security solutions for the maritime sector.
Frederik Keysers, co-founder of NineID
NineID's recognition by the Minister of Justice and the North Sea underscores its commitment to providing reliable and secure biometric access control solutions. The company's collaboration with PSA Breakbulk demonstrates the effectiveness of its facial authentication system in a high-security environment.
PSA Breakbulk Sets New Standard in Port Security
In a groundbreaking move, PSA Breakbulk at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges has implemented biometric facial recognition technology, becoming the first Belgian shipping terminal to do so. This initiative, powered by Ghent-based startup NineID, aligns with the new ISPS security regulations.
PSA Breakbulk's adoption of NineID's facial authentication technology represents a significant leap in security measures. This system enhances control over who enters the facilities, particularly the Project Cargo Ecosystem. Yves Stevens, Regional Director HSS EuroMed & Americas, highlights the system's precision and compliance with stringent ISPS regulations.
We highly value Safety & Security within our PSA Group, we therefore regularly invest in new state-of-the-art technologies. We will continue to evaluate the hands-on experience that we are now gaining at PSA Breakbulk to see if we can implement it in our other business units within EuroMed and the Americas.
Yves Stevens, Regional Director HSS EuroMed & Americas
The new system requires pre-registration involving ID scanning and selfie matching, followed by a QR code generation. Upon arrival, visitors undergo a facial scan to gain access. This process not only bolsters security but also streamlines access control.
With the introduction of biometric facial authentication, we are increasing surveillance and access control at our terminal. With this new technology, we now exceed the increasingly stringent ISPS regulations. NineID's facial verification biometric access control system offers an unprecedented level of precision and security, which is vital for the protection of our maritime operations.
Dennis Verbeeck, general manager of PSA Belgium’s Non-Container Division
The recognition of NineID, coupled with PSA Breakbulk's implementation of biometric facial control, marks a new chapter in Belgian port security. These developments not only enhance the security of the ports but also set a precedent for other countries to follow in the realm of maritime safety and drug smuggling prevention.