AMERICAN President Companies plans to fit automatic equipment identification (AEI) tags to its containers and support systems and install AEI reader systems in about 130 facilities in North America, Asia and the Middle East. APC has placed an initial order for 100,000 AEI tags to be delivered this year, to begin tagging the company's fleet of domestic and international containers and chassis, tractors, rail cars and other equipment. APC has signed a five-year agreement to purchase all its requirements ranging from automatic equipment identification tags and readers to software from Amtech World Corp. Amtech World, the wholly owned marketing subsidiary of Amtech Corp, also will provide APC with associated systems integration services. Amtech estimates that, depending on APC's ultimate requirements, the purchases under the agreement will range between US$15 million and $20 million. Amtech president and chief executive officer Russell Mortenson said: ''APC and Amtech have worked co-operatively for several years to develop national and international standards for AEI, based on Amtech's technology, for intermodal transportation applications. ''It is gratifying to see one of the leading intermodal carriers in the world move ahead and adopt AEI.'' Lorenz Robinson, APC vice-president, said the Amtech system will greatly improve operating efficiency and the industry's ability to meet the demands of customers for faster access to more accurate information. Since many of the terminals used by APC are multi-user facilities, Amtech anticipates that equipping them may lead to border industry adoption of AEI technology. As these facilities are equipped with reader systems, other container shipping companies may choose to install tags on their equipment and utilise these existing readers, through use and fee arrangements with APC or the terminal operators. Compatible AEI standards have been set by transportation industry groups in the international ocean shipping and US rail and trucking industries. The International Standards Organisation established a worldwide standard of the automatic identification of freight containers in April 1991, and in July 1990 the American trucking associations adopted a standard for AEI which applies not only to tractors, trailers, and dollies, but also to intermodal containers and chassis that are carried by truck. In September 1991, the Association of American Railroads ordered the installation of AEI tags on all rail cars and locomotives in North American interchange services - about 1.4 million units. Amtech Corp designs, manufactures, markets and supports a line of hardware and software products and provides services utilising its proprietary radio frequency electronic identification (RFID) technology. RFID technology permits the remote identification of and communication with trucks, cars, rail cars, intermodal containers and other transportation equipment through the use of radio signals. Amtech products are currently marketed to the intermodal transportation, rail transportation, vehicle fleet management and access control, air freight and electronic toll and revenue collection industries. American President Companies provides container transportation services in North America, Asia and the Middle East, through an intermodal system combining ocean, rail and truck transportation.