BRUSSELS – DG Enterprise and Industry held the latest in its series of Security Research workshops here on 31 January to consult with stakeholders on a complex, multi-faceted subject: supply chain security. The packed one-day event drew in more than 200 participants from across Europe to review how a large Demonstration Project could address the security aspects of supply chains.
The security aspects to supply chains are as sprawling as the sector itself, which is spread across multiple transport modes, involves numerous industrial and service sectors around the globe and has direct links to Europe’s public sectors such as customs and law enforcement agencies.
As the EUR 1.4 billion 2007-2013 SR programme moves into its final two years, an emphasis will be on Demonstration projects. These involve sophisticated arrays of integrated technologies, known as the “system-of-systems” approach, that provide area-wide or multi-functional levels of security. Two Demonstration projects in maritime surveillance and multi-mode urban transport security are already underway.
The 31 January workshop here was split into plenary discussions and theme-specific sessions. During the plenary debate end-users and policymakers from different public sectors elaborated their needs regarding supply chains.
Tax and customs authorities, for example, are focused on trade facilitation, fighting cross-border illicit traffic and implementing the safety/security guidelines of the World Customs Organisation, while law enforcement authorities need technologies tailored to specific types of cargo to fight crime and terrorism. For their part, transport authorities are focused on multi-mode issues and integrated e-freight objectives, while the biggest threat for shippers are counterfeit goods and theft.
The international dimension to secure supply chains is also critical and it was no surprise that officials from the US, New Zealand and other countries expressed interest in actively collaborating with the EU in the area of supply security research, information exchange and compliance with global standards in the sector. As for industry, it welcomed the idea of a more permanent forum of debate with the Commission on supply chain security issues.
The stakeholders ideas and guidance from the workshop will help prepare the basis for DG Enterprise and Industry’s next and final annual call under FP7 for Security Research (SR) proposals to be published in July.