Shipping is an ‘antiquated’ industry, but this does seem to be changing, said Christian Allred, Executive Vice President, Global Sales at IoT technology specialist ORBCOMM.
Discussing the forthcoming launch of ORBCOMM’s new solar-powered dry container tracking device, he told journalists that an agreement signed last year to supply Hapag-Lloyd with 600,000 purpose-built container trackers using its CT 100 tracking technology, to increase transparency and improve supply chain management, has sparked a lot of interest from other shipping lines.
About 500,000 container tracking devices have been delivered to Hapag-Lloyd to date, and 3,000 a day are being built to meet the line’s needs.
ORBCOMM will formally launch the new telematics solution in October. The solution provides end-to-end monitoring for dry containers to make operations more transparent, secure and profitable, said Allred. The devices will report data into ORBCOMM’s container platform, which provides a single, integrated view of all assets – dry, reefer, genset and chassis – in one platform. It is also possible to report data through APIs into customer platforms.
The tracking device is designed for large-scale deployments – costing about US$100 per unit, depending on volumes, each one can be installed in about one minute with no need for manual intervention after installation, says ORBCOMM.
The device was developed to provide location and visibility of the fleet, but there are huge opportunities to develop this, said Allred. “What we are anticipating is something that will tackle more use cases – for example, early fire detection, or identifying tampering, human trafficking or illicit drugs. The innovation we are putting in is really substantial.”
The support from Hapag-Lloyd has provided an excellent model to show to the market – “and the market wants this,” he added.
Tracking and the visibility it brings can also help with decarbonisation by reducing delays, unnecessary journeys and fuel usage, says ORBCOMM.
One rail customer had so much success pinpointing when containers were in use or empty, and thus eliminating delays in collecting empty and available containers that it saved the equivalent of 15% of the capacity of its fleet.
ORBCOMM says its solution is the first that digitises global dry container shipping at scale, providing visibility and traceability for shipping lines and their customers “so they can turn data into decisions for their maritime operations”.