There is a new innovation called smart containers which is to improve industry standards and services and has been gaining momentum across the globe for sometime now. Just imagine as a budding clearing agent in Nigeria, you just took delivery of some containers; you are excited that the process of booking for examination, settling customs and other security agencies has almost come to an end. Not forgetting a follow up to returning those empty containers back to the terminal. This is where collecting your container card from the transporter as proof of return comes in. now; you can finally rest and say your job is done.

Or not so fast as tendency for scrupulous acts in this industry is paramount to others. Lets say after getting your container card (as a form of proof that you have indeed returned the empty container on your previous job) and you have another job where the shipping company refuses to release your new job because you haven’t returned the container on your previous job.

Sounds ironic right? Well this happens a lot and as one begins to trace back on the series of events relating to the empty container not returned to the terminal,  you discover the container card is fake and the container has either been dumped, abandoned somewhere or either the container has been sold off. This is one of the reasons clearing agents are advised to work with credible transporters to avoid stories as such.

If the container has probably been sold off, you then have to pay for the value of that container to the shipping company. If you are lucky to even find the container abandoned somewhere, you have to arrange for another truck to return the container back to the terminal ,hire a forklift (to place container on truck). All of which are additional expenses not planned out for.

Such Issues like this could be very cumbersome for clearing agents in Lagos so when we hear of shipping companies coming up with innovative solutions that could solve this type of issues; the possibilities are exciting.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
 is the world’s 2nd largest container carrier accounting for 14.4% of the global container trade, operating around 513 ships and over 3.2 million TEUs across the globe..

Traxens is a tech company that provides customers with an Internet-connected device which when fitted to normal ISO containers, converts it from “just a container” to a “smart container“..

These two companies are partnering to provide the industry with Smart Containers..

What are smart containers and what does it do..??

Smart Containers transmit timely, precise and diverse data on the position and condition of your cargo.. Wherever in the world your containerised cargo is, you can have 24/7 visibility, you can get notifications and alerts on key events enroute, you can have dashboards that give you an up-to-date overview.

Traxens Smart Container Solution consists of three main elements :

  • TRAXENS-BOX: a device which is permanently attached to a container to capture and transmit data on position and condition
  • TRAXENS-NET: a purpose designed mesh radio network for an optimal performance/power consumption ratio for the unique container environment
  • TRAXENS-HUB: a cloud based platform which gathers data from TRAXENS-BOXes before processing and delivering it to the right people at the right time.

Now MSC has teamed up with Traxens to equip 50,000 of its dry cargo containers with this technology to track their boxes..

In a press release, MSC said

MSC’s partnership with TRAXENS will enhance supply chain management for shippers through unprecedented visibility of dry cargo flow from door-to-door, adding efficiency, safety and predictability.

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a global leader in container shipping and logistics, is increasingly introducing smart container solutions for customers at many locations around the world, using IoT solutions developed by its partner TRAXENS.

MSC is committed to equipping 50,000 dry cargo containers in the coming months to meet the growing demand from shippers for TRAXENS solutions.

TRAXENS provides shippers with an Internet-connected device to permanently fix on dry cargo containers. This transforms the container into a smart, connected object which collects and communicates real-time data on its position and movements throughout its journey. Other factors which help to keep cargo secure include: temperature, humidity level, shocks and vibrations, door opening and closing.

Lack of real-time, end-to-end visibility is a major issue in today’s global supply chains and until today, no importers or exporters could say they had total visibility over the whole trip.

The use of digital technologies like smart containers will bring substantial gains in efficiency, service, security and safety along the entire supply chain. It will also help manage delays and other problems along the supply chain where historically chasing information has been time-consuming and expensive.

“MSC believes that the real-time tracking of containers is the future of the shipping industry,” said Diego Aponte, President and CEO of MSC Group. “While shipping lines should of course compete on service, we will achieve better results for our customers by working in a more harmonized way on technology and innovation. Smart containers are a perfect example of where we can cooperate according to industry standards to make our services truly comprehensive and TRAXENS is the top innovator in this area.”

In due course, TRAXENS solutions are also expected to facilitate easier and quicker pre-customs clearance for shippers.

Have you had experience of your container being abandoned or missing? How would a smart container help solve the issue? Have you used or have any exposure to a Smart Container..?? How did it help your business and your shipping requirements..??

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