Author: Tronserve admin
Saturday 18th September 2021 12:47 AM
Shipping Industry Bets Big on IoT in Bid to Save Billions
In a bid to save billions of dollars per year, the shipping industry is graduating from pilot projects and lastly initiating to adopt a smattering of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for real-world, commercial use. Lately, several large and small shipping companies have turned to Traxens, a French technology firm, to help them set up IoT devices across their fleets.
Traxens develops technology that tracks and monitors cargo. Since it announced in 2012, the company has earned investments from premier shipping companies. Shipping is liable for carrying 90 percent of the world’s traded goods, reported on the International Chamber of Shipping. This year, A.P. Møller—Mærsk A/S, which is the world’s biggest container ship and supply vessel operator, became a Traxens shareholder and customer.
And then, earlier this month, Traxens equipped Indonesian shipping company, PT TKSolusindo with a set of devices, each just a little longer and thinner than a brick, with sensors including GPS. These devices can track geolocation, detect shock and motion, and check the temperature, humidity, and alarms on refrigerated containers, often called reefers.
PT TKSolusindo is a reefer container company that serves clients across the Indonesian archipelago. The company moves ice cream, meat, medicines, and produce. Indonesia’s islands are extended across almost 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles), and these goods must be kept fresh in tropical weather. PT TKSolusindo has 125 6-meter (or 20-foot) reefers, and 30 12-meter (or 40-foot) reefers in addition to many refrigerated trucks and cold storage units on land.
By mid-2020, Traxens says 150,000 shipping containers are going to be loaded with their devices across all of the companies they plan to serve. When Maersk invested in the company, it committed to ordering 50,000 devices. Subsequently, Traxens’ devices will not just monitor containers, but also allow customers to regulate internal temperature, which is particularly required when shipping food.
As mentioned in a 2015 report by McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, location-tracking IoT technology could reduce ships’ navigation time by 11 to 13 percent. IoT technology that tracks packages and containers could also reduce the number of damaged goods by 30 to 50 percent, and rise the utilization of containers by 10 to 25 percent. And if companies are better able to track the status and contents of their containers, they could cut down the amount they spend per year on containers by US $13 billion.
Yet, shipping poses unique challenges for IoT technology. In Traxens’ case, each container is fixed with one device that relays information by cellular communication, and the device’s batteries need to last for months. The hardware is custom-made by Traxens to reduce power loss and increase energy efficiency. And the devices do not regularly transmit information—they send out information when they reach a certain point in the journey, according to geozones set by Traxens and the customers.
“We also use our low-energy mobile ad-hoc network TRAXENS-NET to [allow devices on board the same ship to] communicate between each other and elect a single device to communicate for the others to extend battery life,” says Lucas Moulin, program and solution director. “Another possibility is to have a TRAXENS-NET gateway supplied with power to gather data and improve even further energy efficiency, for instance on a vessel,” adds Moulin.
Tracking shipments more closely could raise new security concerns, though, which could induce remarkable costs to shipping companies that decide to adopt IoT devices. And shipping companies have always been the target of security breaches in the past. In 2017, Maersk fell victim to a major cyberattack which reportedly cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
To keep from unwanted interception, Traxens made its data approachable only via encrypted authentication. And Traxens’ approach is actually difficult to penetrate, says Moulin. “Our devices are not permanently connected and cannot be reached from the Internet. They connect to our server only at their initiative periodically,” he adds.
Though Traxens has gotten so much interest just lately, shipping companies have been looking at IoT solutions for years. Since 2015, Maersk has made multiple major investments in IoT to improve the proficiency with which it ships big numbers of products. These investments have included deals with Ericsson and the development of a Remote Container Management system, which is an interface that allows customers to check the location and problems of their container.
Source: IEEE Spectrum