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A car is driven through a Z Portal X-ray machine, which can detect illegal drugs, explosives and other contraband.
A car is driven through a Z Portal X-ray machine, which can detect illegal drugs, explosives and other contraband.

X-ray screening for all vehicles crossing Abu Dhabi borders

Security on the capital's borders is to be stepped up with the introduction of an advanced x-ray system that scans vehicles.

ABU DHABI// Security on the capital's borders is to be stepped up with the introduction of an advanced x-ray system that scans vehicles. American Science and Engineering (ASE) said it had received an US$8.6 million (Dh31.6 million) order from Abu Dhabi Customs for its Z Portal drive-through screening system, which can detect explosives, weapons, drugs and stowaways.

As cars and lorries pass through the machine, the system relays images of what is inside to customs officers. Travellers can stay in their vehicles during the process as the device emits only a low level of radiation. The American company said the portal was "the most comprehensive screening system available". It offers images of vehicles from the sides and the top and cuts border search times. "Abu Dhabi Customs is keen to adopt state-of-the-art technologies to enhance its position as a world leader in customs operations and to provide protection for Abu Dhabi's citizens," Saeed al Muhairi, general director of Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs, told the official state news agency, WAM.

"These innovative systems will play a vital role in supporting the efficient movement of goods and people while maintaining national security and health and safety that are top priorities for the Abu Dhabi customs." The system is designed to increase security, while having little impact on the flow of trade. "We are delighted to play such an important role in safeguarding Abu Dhabi's ports and borders from smuggling, trade fraud, and other threats," said Anthony Fabiano, chief executive of the company.

"Their comprehensive plan is focused on providing minimum trade restrictions with maximum security, utilising the best and latest technologies and practices worldwide." Abu Dhabi Customs has also signed a contract with Rapiscan Systems to install x-ray equipment at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The equipment would "maximise the security measures of checkpoints" at the airport, said Terry Whittock, vice president of sales for the region at Rapiscan.

The airport already has some of the most sophisticated scanning equipment in the world and customs officers there are trained to detect smugglers by picking up signals in passengers' body language. Customs officers have foiled several smuggling attempts in recent weeks. They uncovered 33,000 steroid shots at Abu Dhabi airport last month. And two Emiratis who tried to enter the country with nearly 9,000 Captagon tablets hidden in their car were arrested by police.

lmorris@thenational.ae

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