Fit to Freight: cross-border cyber technology may solve truck drivers crisis

Lorries queuing.

Whether caused by covid infections or Brexit border issues, can technology play an important role in ensuring the pre-Christmas queues of trucks in Kent never happens again?

Just prior to Christmas, with thousands of European truck drivers unlikely to get home in time to celebrate with their families, British cyber technology company VST Enterprises (VSTE) offered to step in and assist the UK Government with cyber technology that could help end the UK Freight ban into Europe.

The company has written to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps and Prime Minister Johnson to offer its assistance. The innovation could also help assist with achieving a ‘Frictionless Border’ between the UK and its European trading partners as the country prepares for the Brexit deadline.

‘Fit to Freight’ is a new campaign that Manchester-based VSTE is launching to road hauliers. It can enables all freight drivers, both in the UK and Europe, to have their own secure digital health passport designed for freight transportation. The cross-border platform, called V-Health Passport, can already be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store by searching for ‘VPassport’ or by visiting this designated website.

“VSTE is the first technology company in the world to have developed a secure, multi-purpose, cross-corporate & cross-government digital health passport that does not rely on using UPC barcodes or QR codes as its authentication technology.”

Louis-James Davis, CEO, VST Enterprises

Haulage drivers can access the technology and download the secure digital health passport to their smartphones and get signed up in minutes. Each driver can be given either a Covid 19 rapid antigen test at the roadside or a 24-hour PCR test and results then confirmed and uploaded to their V-Health Passport. This will provide proof and authentication of a lorry driver’s genuine identity and their test/vaccination status.

Similarly, the longer term solution for freight transport post-Brexit would be for all UK and European haulage drivers to take a PCR Covid test prior to cross border travel and have their results uploaded to their V-Health Passport.

The information sits behind an ultra-secure, end-to-end encrypted system, protected by a proprietary code technology called VCode. The technology can also be scanned outside the 2m social distancing protocol and also up to 100m away on moving objects; in contrast, QR codes can only be scanned within centimetres by breaching social distancing!

This means that as a driver approaches the Ports of Dover or Calais in future, they wouldn’t need to leave their cab, but can be scanned from a safe vantage point by presenting their mobile phone displaying the app. This would provide each driver with the technology to display their Covid test results in a secure and GDPR compliant way to the port and Customs authorities on arrival and departure.

The VCode maze symbol could be printed onto each truck/trailer and scanned by existing ANPR cameras as they approach the ports and at key stages on the journey. The goods being transported by the haulier would also have their own VCode with details of the manifest and any duty to be paid or not.

It would mean drivers and hauliers would be able to ‘roll-on’ and ‘roll-off’ from the Channel and across borders in Ireland, without a vehicle being stopped.

The health passport can work with all Covid testing protocols – described as being test and vaccine agnostic – and provides a secure technology and audit trail of a person’s Covid test results.

“VSTE is the first technology company in the world to have developed a secure, multi-purpose, cross-corporate & cross-government digital health passport that does not rely on using UPC barcodes or QR codes as its authentication technology,” says inventor Louis-James Davis, CEO of VST Enterprises.

“Both barcodes and QR codes have huge potential security implications, as they can be cloned and hacked, with the latter being subject to a process called ‘Attagging’.”

Davis continues: “The freight drivers stranded before Christmas in Kent could be on-boarded with our technology in a matter of minutes, which they could download and access themselves. With the Army assisting the NHS teams on the ground in Kent, a driver’s test result and Covid status could be easily uploaded straight to their V-Health Passport, so that this can provide proof and verification of a valid Covid test at the port of entry or departure.”

Away from logistics, the V-Health Passport could also be used to combine an individual’s Covid test status and vaccination record with their boarding pass, airline ticket, music or sports ticket, all in one app. It could also help employers safely return their employees back to their offices, factories and warehouses.