Modelling and Analysing Cargo Screening Processes: a Project Outline

The efficiency of current cargo screening processes at sea and air ports is unknown as no benchmarks exists against which they could be measured. Some manufacturer benchmarks exist for individual sensors but we have not found any benchmarks that take a holistic view of the screening procedures assessing a combination of sensors and also taking operator variability into account. Just adding up resources and manpower used is not an effective way for assessing systems where human decision-making and operator compliance to rules play a vital role. For such systems more advanced assessment methods need to be used, taking into account that the cargo screening process is of a dynamic and stochastic nature. Our project aim is to develop a decision support tool (cargo-screening system simulator) that will map the right technology and manpower to the right commodity-threat combination in order to maximize detection rates.
In this paper we present a project outline and highlight the research challenges we have identified so far. In addition we introduce our first case study, where we investigate the cargo screening process at the ferry port in Calais.