Our work with the world's leading retail companies brings professional EAS, ESL, RFID and retail video analytics security solutions to retailers of all sizes.

NewsRFID solutions

Application of RFID electronic tag in container port and station

With the development of today’s logistics industry, China has formed a container station network system in the whole road, and is in line with the international container transport, and gradually towards a more mature stage of development. And the logistics industry information intensity in the field of container freight transport is particularly prominent, information management needs more urgent. In the information technology, in recent years the emerging based on the radio frequency recognition technology (Radio Frequency Identification, RFID) the electronic tag automatic diagnosis and management system, already in the container logistics information plays a particularly important role. According to the realization of different ways, RFID can be divided into two categories an active RFID and passive RFID. currently, in the container logistics information system, the use of active RFID electronic tags or passive RFID electronic tags, there is also a wide range of controversy.

RFID electronic tag characteristics analysis

RFID electronic tag characteristics are shown in Table 1.
Table.1 RFID characteristics analysis

Characteristics of RFID electronic tag Active Passive
Light weight, small volume and long service life
It is cheap and does not require maintenance
When working, it is not limited by the direction
With long reading distance and high reading rate, it can read better at high speed
Strong adaptability to harsh environment
No data interference during operation

As active tags are self-powered, by the battery, microcontroller and other larger devices, so the package is generally thicker after the card, and more expensive than passive tags; at the same time, the active tag life depends on the battery, but also requires maintenance protection, unlike the passive tag life is basically more than 10 years and does not require maintenance; but the active tag is taken to be the active T made way to its own battery by Supply the electric energy constantly n radio frequency recognition signal, not like the passive tag T work, must enter the questioning electromagnetic field first induction reader sends out the electromagnetic wave used to convert for their own work required electric energy, then sends out the radio frequency recognition signal. The active tag sends out the radio frequency signal power is bigger, the speed is fast, the signal.
The signal is stable, therefore its reads the distance far, the recognition reads the rate high, may in the high speed situation better recognition reads, and the work does not have the direction. But in the operation, often appears an active electronic tag reader recognition area, at the same time appears more than one to be recognized active electronic tag situation. In this way, will cause the data to interfere with each other conflict, causes the data to lose, even occurs the wrong recognition. In this aspect, the passive electron tag advantage is very obvious.

RFID in the role of container management

In 2008, Shanghai port becomes our country first use container electron tag the port. First of all, after using the container electron tag, through the network can control the container information in time, for the whole container logistics transportation process all customer service; Secondly, in the process of port to port, the packing point staff through the PDA will input the data into the RFID tag, all the data directly into the website. In this system, the application RFID electronic tag can realize to each container site to provide box information, cargo information, security information and transportation information real-time query, record each switch box time, place, for not authorized operation for real-time alarm, and the insecure event to track, realize the whole process of container transportation data exchange.
RFID electronic tag in the container field application, on the one hand shortened the container into the port clearance time, changed the container truck in the road crossing queue waiting status quo, greatly improved the container transportation efficiency; On the other hand standardized and unified container information management, avoid the container in the transportation process of wrong box, omission box, reduce the port enterprise machinery operation cost as well as the ship to port RFID electronic tag can be used as a carrier, the combination of information encryption, item encoding, digital signature and other technologies, for each container to generate a unique code, through the reader can easily read a variety of information, including security status information, flow information, etc., the security management of the container and logistics status to implement effective monitoring, can facilitate the cargo owners always query the transport status.

Container field application RFID electronic tag existing problems

Container transportation environment on RFID electronic tag application performance index influence
RFID tags in the container logistics transport application has strong specificity, specifically reflected in the following points.
(1) the dynamic reading of RFID tags. As the container circulation speed is relatively fast, its information must be able to long-distance access, therefore, RFID electronic tags must have high recognition speed, long-distance, high accuracy characteristics. Active electronic tags in this regard is much higher than the advantages of passive electronic tags, but easy to appear neighboring channel interference and other problems.
(2) the impact of the working environment. RFID electronic tags and ordinary electronic tags work in a different environment, it needs to flow with the container in the sea, wharf, yard and other places. So the tag in the design and packaging must consider the following factors.

  • ① temperature requirements: container operation is all-weather, and the working environment temperature is high, temperature difference.
  • ② the requirements of humidity: most of the time the port container transport is done in the sea (or inland waterways), so RFID tags must be able to work in a very high humidity (35% -80%) environment.
  • ③ ultraviolet radiation: long time, high-intensity ultraviolet radiation will accelerate the aging of the tag shell plastic.
  • ④ acid and alkali corrosion and vibration impact: container operations most of the time in the terminal and the sea, this environment requires the tag must be resistant to acid and alkali corrosion, while the packaging structure and materials to resist vibration impact.

Passive electronic tag in this regard is greatly superior to the active electronic tag, because it does not carry its own power supply, does not require special maintenance, so the adaptability of the harsh environment is stronger.

RFID electronic tag by the container metal surface impact analysis

RFID tag is directly attached to the metal surface of the container, because the metal surface of the incident electromagnetic wave has a reflective effect, will be part of the stronger anti-direction electromagnetic wave also reflected through the electronic tag. And the incident wave and the reflected wave phase superposition will offset part of the strength greatly weakened, seriously affecting the reader to RFID tags read distance, and even can not read the data, as shown in Figure 1.
20211225133929 88307 - Application of RFID electronic tag in container port and station
Figure.1 in the metal surface tag work when the electromagnetic wave transmission diagram

Solve the container metal surface tag impact method is to improve the antenna and the relative height of the metal surface. With the increase of the relative height, the synthetic field signal vector will be gradually enhanced, to the relative height of 1/4 of the wavelength, the synthetic field signal vector reaches the maximum, and can obtain 3dB gain. The RFID electronic tag attached to the metal surface of the container, the distance between the tag and the metal surface is very small, can raise the space is limited, can not meet the requirements. This will need to insert an isolation medium in the electronic tag and the metal surface ask, the usual practice is to isolate the medium and the electronic tag encapsulated into one, thus forming the anti-metal electronic tag.

Problems of applying RFID technology in container management

Although RFID technology in part of the port container transport in the pilot and research, but in the global has not been put into large-scale application, which is far from enough in today’s economic globalization. The reason why the technology is currently being promoted more slowly, is due to the following problems.

System standard problem

Although has introduced the international standard of the container electron tag, our country also in 1999 has formulated “the container automatic diagnosis” the standard, but all has not been promoted effectively, this then restricts the domestic container automatic diagnosis system enterprise development related RFID technology software and hardware product. These products include the container electron tag, the electron vehicle plate, the read-write, the electronic customs lock and the container backstage management system and so on. And these products are RFID technology application in the container management core products.

Cost problem

RFID technology application, to the relevant enterprises bring two aspects of cost expenditure: one is the acquisition of RFID-related equipment such as tags, read-write, etc., the second is the transformation of the basic system. At present, the RFID system investment is large, and no large-scale application in container transport, resulting in the use of the technology in the container port station costs are still very high, a large degree of restriction on the trading companies, customs, ports and third-party logistics companies to use RFID technology enthusiasm.

Security issues

The security problem contains two aspects, the tag content security and tag position security. Container electronic tag is reusable, in the container’s whole life cycle can’t fail. Although the container in the use of RFID electronic tag, can speed up the container transportation system in the relevant enterprise between the information transmission, improve the overall service quality of logistics, but perhaps criminals are also able to through some high-tech means to obtain the electronic tag within the implicit information, use these information to obtain or destroy the electronic tag password. Therefore, the RFID electronic tag used in the container transportation system should avoid the non-system reader reading, that is, the tag should be able to automatically recognize the reader, to decide whether to send the information carried by itself to the reader. Only to do so, the electronic container management will be more secure.

Maturity problem

At present, the domestic application of RFID technology in the field of port container is still in the pilot and research stage, some related products are not mature, which makes the customer on the use of the technology there are still many concerns. Although there are a few REID technology manufacturers to develop RFID container-related products, but most of them are used in some demonstration projects in the port, compared with the real scale application, there is still a big gap.

RFID in the field of container development proposals

In order to improve the container transportation informationization and management level, using RFID electronic tag is the future development trend, it can not only realize the automatic identification of the container and the logistics process information real-time tracking, eliminate the wrong box and the missing box, greatly improve the container clearance speed, transportation efficiency, and enhance the container in the transportation of security and reliability, thus comprehensively improve the container transportation Service level, can really build with international advanced level of container information digital port. At present, the international container industry has not yet formed the container RFID electronic tag related international standard, which is our country container information and international advanced level to shorten the gap an important time, the promotion and application of container RFID electronic tag is imminent. Through the analysis of active and passive RFID electronic tags in front of this paper, the following development suggestions are put forward:

According to China’s national conditions, should vigorously develop active RFID tags

From our country and the world international container development trend, vigorously promote sea-rail transportation, water-water transportation, water public transportation will be China’s container transport further rapid development of the road. At the same time, the railroad in our country’s transportation occupies an extremely important position, and relative to road transport, has the special advantage of suitable for longer distance and lower cost, so, accelerate the promotion of sea-rail intermodal transport, will be the future of China’s international container development important choice. And the development of this multimodal transport method, the most important is the container transport efficiency. Active RFID tags happen to have many characteristics, such as identification does not have the direction, read the distance, data transmission is convenient, data encryption, etc.; and passive electronic tags are relatively weak advantages. However, because active RFID tags carry their own batteries, the price itself is very high, coupled with readers, staff equipped with handheld devices are also expensive, so, at present, how to solve the active RFID tags on the adaptability of the harsh environment, extend the life, reduce costs, etc. is an urgent need to solve the problem in China.

Lay the foundation for the development of China’s RFID air interface standards

China’s enterprises and industries to join forces to develop RFID air interface standards, and the development of air interface standards based on this chip either from the national security, or from the perspective of national and business interests, are completely necessary, otherwise reduced to the point where our country has to pay for each piece of goods RFID patent is who does not want to see. Therefore, China should consider reference to international standards and frequencies, so as to develop their own standards.

Development of RFID chips with independent intellectual property rights

China is currently engaged in the RFID industry, there is a certain amount of technical strength of the company is less. Even in such a situation, there is no kind of cooperation, joint and open-mindedness between each other to make China’s RFID industry bigger. Without having independent intellectual property rights of RFID chips, talk about China’s role in RFID, talk about the development and domination of international standards, talk about China’s place in RFID, talk about RFID strategic planning, will be just a pavilion in the air.

Seize the large-scale application of RFID industry, the formation of de facto standards

90% of the world’s containers in China’s production, and the proportion is still growing, it can be said that the global containers are basically produced in China. Each year our country’s container production in more than 3 million TEU, container life is generally in 10 years, the global container retention in 30 million TEU. And at present the container electronic tag application is still in the experimental stage, to enter the large-scale application, also need to solve the fundamental problem of electronic tag, that is the container in the production, the electronic tag as a standard component fixed in the container, the Only then can promote the RFID technology in the container logistics application.


RFID tags in the container field is widely used in the future trend. This paper firstly analyzes the performance and advantages and disadvantages of active and passive electronic tags, RFID in the container management; Secondly, discusses the RFID electronic tags in the container application and management problems; Finally, puts forward some development suggestions. It can be seen that in some container circulation is not big port station, passive electronic tag still has the irreplaceable advantage. Although active electronic tag has high price, short life, need maintenance and other shortcomings, but in the future information logistics system, it is an indispensable part. It can speed up the container circulation speed, information exchange convenience, more conducive to the internationalization of China’s container transport. And with the development of science and technology, our country RFID chip independent research and development, active electronic tag some shortcomings will be solved one by one, can provide better service. I hope the research of this paper on RFID technology in the field of container widely used, play a certain reference role.

SourceChina RFID Electronic Tag Manufacturer – Actility Technologies Company Limited (www.tractility.com)



Leave a Reply

Leave a message