IFA is looking towards the implementation of smart containers for European logistics services
Thanks to the implementation of smart containers used for international freight forwarding, each container will be connected to the IoT. This will make it possible for the members of the freight forwarders association to check the status of each container used by the European network for transportation in real time.
Such a system will help the forwarders throughout Europe to monitor not only the location of each smart container but also monitor other factors which can affect the condition of the cargo including the temperature, humidity levels, vibrations, shocks, as well as the opening and closing of the doors.
This smart tracking system will ensure that the members of the International Forwarders Association know when the container is expected to arrive and will make the customs services faster and easier as well.
It is the lack of complete control over each shipment which has been causing delays and other problems for the members of the international freight forwarders network and for the entire distribution and supply chain.
It is a fact that on a global level, about one-third of the foodstuff gets spoiled before it reaches its end destination and the consumers. This amounts to about 1.3 billion metric tons of food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. A large percent of this food perishes while it is being forwarded to and in developing countries. In many cases, the deviations in the temperature of the refrigeration transport containers and vehicles is the cause for this huge loss.
This is why more international freight forwarding companies are starting to use smart containers for proper monitoring of the conditions of the foods during transportation.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has created a consortium including 22 partners who are working on the research and change of the logistical processes of making shipping containers smart.
The system being used by the list of logistics companies uses 3G connectivity which is faster than the previous two generations of wireless mobile communication technologies.
Before the technological limits such as the lack of cloud connection and bandwidth limitations made such real-time tracking impossible for the containers when they were not on a truck.
Today, Freight supervision Units (FSU) are being placed on the containers themselves. These devices allow for external communication via an internal sensor network. Depending on the types of cargo being forwarded by the European logistics companies, different software bundles can be used to help with decision support or provide a customized food shelf-life model for the specific goods.
With such specialized software, the forwarders throughout Europe and the freight forwarders around the world will be able to receive alerts in real time in case a temperature change occurs in the container so that the customer can be informed directly about its status.
The main advantage is that the customer can react to such a potential problem quickly, and order new goods on time. Before this technology was implemented, the customer would find out that the goods are unusable only after they were delivered.
With this new smart technology, the quality of the goods can be monitored at all times, and the overall losses could be reduced from 30% to 20%.
This is excellent news for the members of the freight forwarders network, as well as for the customers throughout Europe and the world.