The Federal Communications Commission yesterday issued an order that clears the way for the use of improved radiofrequency identification (RFID) systems in conjunction with commercial shipping containers. The order increases the maximum signal level permitted for RFID systems operating in the 433.5-434.5 MHz band, which the FCC said would result in “more reliable transmissions with greater range” than allowed by the previous rules.

The FCC said the new rules would result in improved security at ports, rail yards and warehouses by enabling RFID users to more rapidly inventory their shipments and determine whether the contents had been tampered.

“With more than two billion tons of freight traveling through U.S. ports and waterways yearly, ensuring the efficient flow of goods while reducing the possibility of terrorism and fraud is no easy task,” said FCC Chairman Michael Powell, in a statement. “I’m excited by the prospects for improved inventory control, lower costs, and increased homeland security that this technology promises to bring.”