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In the wake of the explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in massive blasts in Beirut’s main port, killing at least 100 people and injuring more than 4,000, the focus turns to port security technology. 

With this regard, there are two major dimensions – the handling of hazardous materials, and the aspect of critical infrastructure security. 

Port facilities not only handle ordinary goods, but are also a hub for hazardous substances. The goods delivered by ship are supposed to be stored temporarily in special warehouses for dangerous goods, from which they are then collected for further distribution. 

Building dangerous goods warehouses in port areas has to comply to a range of laws and directives on building construction, hazardous substances, water protection, explosives, epidemics, etc. 

A transparent logistics chain is essential in order to maintain a constant overview of the type of hazardous substances in any one place and their quantities. 

In the majority of cases, public authorities are responsible for monitoring compliance with the relevant regulations governing hazardous substances and particularly their marking, according to munichre.com. Incorrectly declared cargoes, which could result in dangerous accumulations, or combined storage in warehouses for dangerous goods, can thus be identified in this way. 

IT-based controls can also be performed using a cargo management screening process. 

The other dimension is critical infrastructure security. The global critical infrastructure protection market was valued at $71. 83 billion in 2019 and is projected to be worth $108. 57 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 7. 08% during this period, according to reportlinker.com.

Since the cargo containers at ports could be used inappropriately, it becomes important that proper monitoring and inspection of the transferred cargo is carried out. 

Ports are busy areas and are spread over a very large area. This would mean that certain areas of the ports can be inaccessible all the time as far as patrolling is concerned and therefore could lead to stealing of cargo from the cargo containers. It could also involve the smuggling of weapons and arsenal into a country and issues of stowage and illegal immigration, according to marineinsight.com. 

Technologies such as smart access points, integrated surveillance and tracking networks, computer systems etc. allow port authorities to properly defend and manage sea ports.