Cargo scanners find new S. American market

Sept. 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Large cargo scanning systems are finding new markets in Latin America as the need for security grows in the region's quickly industrializing countries.

American Science and Engineering, Inc. said it received orders for three of its best-selling Z Backscatter Van cargo and vehicle X-ray screening systems from a Latin American country it didn't identify. The company also didn't mention the contract value, adding it represents the "first order for ZBV systems from this Latin American country."

"The Z Backscatter Van continues to gain traction in Latin America," AS&E President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Fabiano said.

It said the system, praised for its "its unsurpassed versatility, maneuverability and contraband detection capability," continues to receive outstanding field performance reports from clients in Latin America and elsewhere.

He didn't say how many units had been sold in the region but AS&E's rivals have also been active in the area, touting cargo scanners as well as body scanners.

The Z Backscatter Van is rated by the company as the No. 1-selling non-intrusive mobile inspection system on the market. A low-cost, highly mobile screening system built into a commercially available delivery van, the ZBV system allows for immediate deployment in response to security threats and its high throughput capability facilitates rapid inspections, the company said.

AS&E supplies innovative X-ray inspection systems designed to beat smuggling and trade fraud worldwide. AS&E has garnered customers in leading government agencies, border authorities, military bases, airports and corporations worldwide, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Pentagon, NATO, British Border Agency, Hong Kong Customs and Abu Dhabi Customs are among its customers.

Cargo scanning has also spread to the Caribbean and Central America, with governments investing into new equipment.

Security authorities in Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, recently beefed up customs security at all entrance points amid rising fears that criminal and narcotics gangs from other regional locations are targeting the Caribbean territory.

The Cayman Islands is a major global offshore financial center with strong EU connections.

Neighboring territories in the Caribbean and Latin America are facing increased criminal activity as armed drug gangs relocate to the area in response to a vigorous crackdown on their activities by the United States, Mexico, Colombia and other regional countries.

Cayman Islands include the islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.

The islands' total population of about 55,000 has one of the highest annual gross incomes at $47,000 per capita.

Help with the tougher customs entry measures will be provided by Canadian security technology firm Smiths Detection, which said the contract covering the service was its largest so far with the Cayman Islands Customs Department.

Among preventive hardware chosen for installation are the HCVM, a high-energy X-ray cargo inspection system designed to cut the flow of weapons, narcotics and contraband in and out of the territory.

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