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Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) for Container Tracking

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a new, real-time digitalized system that enables sensing, data collection, and sharing.

This innovative technology is transforming various industries. As for logistics, the IoT is used for both data-collection capabilities, such as identifying, detecting and tracking, and logistics services, including transportation management, warehouse management, handling, packaging, distribution, and demand forecasting.

Let’s take a closer look at the use of IoT in tracking, the backbone of logistics!

What benefits does IoT container tracking have for your operations?

Essentially, the Internet of Things (IoT) allows users to track the location of every container within a fleet. It offers various advantages at each stage of the supply chain. These include the below main areas.

1. Outbound Logistics

Track assets on their way to their final destination, providing customers and suppliers with up-to-the-minute ETA visibility.

2. Asset Tracking

Monitor transport conditions and ensure the safety and quality of products in transit, especially for sensitive or perishable items.

3. Inventory Management

Collect informative data on usage to make informed decisions based on supply and demand.

4. Container Security

Minimize cargo loss and theft through close monitoring of all materials.

These applications can be used in any container, whether it is dry or refrigerated.

How does the IoT ecosystem gather the information and help organizations?

Containers are equipped with smart sensors and IoT-enabled tracking devices that offer real-time information on the container. The sensors can monitor the container’s location and temperature, as well as the air flow and condensation rate.

With this basic data, an organization can make better decisions about the flow and future of its transportation operations. This results in benefits such as better supply chain visibility and management, reduced waste from misdirected RTI, more accurate ETAs for final delivery and storage, and improved customer service.

How about security?

In the U.S., it is estimated that logistics companies lose about $30 billion a year due to cargo theft, so ensuring the safety and security of shipments is highly crucial. Fortunately, data from new sensors can aid in monitoring container security.

Certain sensor technologies that could enhance container security are:

1. GPS Trackers

Tracking the current container location can notify organizations of any misplaced goods. This not only updates inventory needs and those of the supply chain but also simplifies the retrieval of lost items.

2. Door and Movement Sensors

By adding sensors that monitor when and if a container door has been opened, fleet managers can better determine if a shipment has been compromised. These sensors can be simple like door sensors indicating container opening to movement sensors tracking any vibrations that may have affected the container’s contents.

3. Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are essential for refrigerated containers, as they indicate the container’s integrity and comply with safety standards. Regardless of whether it is a refrigerated or dry container, monitoring temperature spikes and events can identify structural damage, improper storage, or potentially dangerous situations such as fires.

4. Weight Sensors

Even slight changes in the container’s weight may signify foul play and offer companies valuable insights into their shipment’s condition at any given time.

This data could help enhance security protocols and more effectively allocate security resources. Additionally, it can aid in resolving disputes over lost or damaged goods in insurance claims by providing valuable insights about when and where the issue occurred.


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