IFLN News 2021

SBA Albania Handles Time-Sensitive Identification Devices for National Election

  IFLN Network member SBA Group recently handled the importation and distribution of a large number of Electronic Identification Devices and Electronic Voting Machines that were used for the first time in the Albanian parliamentary election held on 25 April this year.

SBA Albania – the Group also has offices in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Cyprus and Greece – planned and executed the importation of more than 20 shipments of this equipment weighing a total of more than 50 tons, before then overseeing their onward shipment to no less than 3,314 polling locations and training locations nationwide. The devices use biometrics to positively validate the identity of voters prior to them casting their ballot.

The shipments originated in China, with the cargo being flown into Athens in various consignments (Tirana in Albania is only a small airport with limited capacity). Shipments up to the Greek capital were pre-paid, with SBA receiving the equipment there.

Having organized the onward transit formalities, the cargo was trucked to Tirana for Customs clearance and delivery to the various final destinations. And all this had to be undertaken within a tight and demanding schedule, notes SBA Group executive director Makis Mavroeidis. After that, SBA also handled the retrieval of all the equipment.

Cargo for Elections

Various challenges had to be overcome, he recalls. “Because it was the first time for such a project in Albania, there were several small logistics and communication incidents that we had to overcome/solve as quickly as possible. We had to deliver devices to all the locations within a timeframe of just five days before election day, and to collect everything back within four days after the election.

“We faced delays at a few of the polling centres as regards acceptance and/or handover of the equipment, while bad road infrastructure in parts of the country also presented problems.

“However, we delivered as expected and the customer was satisfied with and thanked us for our work.”

And more generally, the CEO of SBA’s customer, Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica, has declared: “Implementing a nationwide voter authentication system proved to be a remarkable improvement. Working alongside authorities, we ensured Albania had a secure system that made the overall voting process accessible and efficient.”

Live tracking
SBA granted Smartmatic Albania, along with the country’s Central Election Committee, access to Neolink, for advanced GPS live tracking and reporting data for more than 100 pre-planned, multi-stop distribution shipments handled by SBA Albania.

SBA equipped each truck with a GPS device and pre-loaded all the truck routes into the Group’s digital platform to meet Smartmatic's request for GPS tracking. For each drop-off location (namely, the many voting facilities), it created a geofence in Neolink and an alert was sent out once a truck and its cargo reached a geofence.

The truck route and the geofences were both visible on the Neolink platform, so that SBA could ensure that the truck had travelled the pre-planned route, while arrival and departure times for each drop-off location was also displayed, all useful information for both SBA and its customer.

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