The Benefits of Smart Container Tracking Leveraging LoRa

The Benefits of Smart Container Tracking Leveraging LoRa
The Benefits of Smart Container Tracking Leveraging LoRa

Along with the integration of the international market and the globalization of economic activities, international trade developing at an unprecedented rate, and so does the logistics industry. As the logistic carrier of smooth global trade, 80% of global trade is ensured through container shipping. Container shipping has become an important form of modern transportation due to its high efficiency, convenience, and safety. IoT technology in container shipping brings more intelligence to containers, making it possible to connect isolated objects in traditional container shipping. In this post, we will explore the benefits of utilizing LoRa technology for smart container tracking and monitoring.

What is a smart container

A smart container usually refers to an IoT-enabled container that is integrated with IoT technologies, sensors, and GPS tracking to provide real-time tracking and monitoring. In general, smart-enabled containers can also be self-powered by solar panels. Not only does it enable faster container turnaround times and better equipment utilization, but it also allows beneficial cargo owners to obtain information on the location and status of their shipments, so as to better control the supply chain.

Global smart container market

According to Drewry, it is estimated that the number of smart containers worldwide will reach 8.7 million over the next five years, accounting for 25% of global container inventories by 2026. To some extent, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain disruption has made the advantages of the smart container even more prominent, and it is expected that smart container shipping will accelerate its development in the post-epidemic era. However, the deployment of IoT technology devices varies in different types of containers, with high penetration in reefer and intermodal containers and much lower in the dry box sector.

Why container tracking and monitoring important to businesses

A 2022 sea report by the World Shipping Council estimates that an average of 1,629 containers are lost at sea each year. On top of that, there has been an unexpected slow down in transit times and speeds of shipping parcels on the long journey from the factory to cargo ships to the fleets and finally to the store shelves on time and in good condition. This is an ongoing industry problem, and the most intuitive result of these situations is customer dissatisfaction and dramatic loss of sales.

Real-time container tracking and monitoring are critical in smart supply chains as it allows all stakeholders to have a clear picture of where the cargo is at any given time. In contrast, manual data collection is inefficient and prone to errors during transportation. LoRa technology provides businesses with a flexible, scalable, and easy-to-implement long-range low-power solution. Leveraging LoRa-enabled wireless sensors with precise geolocation capabilities, companies can monitor a number of variables as a vessel moves, including the condition of containers and cargo, fuel efficiency, and machine status.

Applications of smart container tracking utilizing LoRa

Over time, LoRa has been used in IoT applications across many fields. Collecting various location and status data of containers and cargo, LoRa enhances the performance of smart containers by enabling data sharing. In the following section, we will show you some of the common LoRa applications in smart container tracking and monitoring.

Applications of smart container tracking utilizing LoRa

Container geolocation: Track the position and movement of containers while being transported in the port, so that users can confirm the corresponding position of the container as soon as possible when necessary.

Asset tracking: LoRaWAN tracker can be attached to high-value goods, perishable items, and high-security assets to deliver accurate location information.

Door status (close/open): Smart LoRa sensors are enabled to check for the accidental opening of container doors, and an instant alert will be triggered to notify the incident.

Temperature monitoring: For shipping cargo that requires a specific temperature storage environment, LoRaWAN temperature and humidity sensors can be essential to monitor temperature and humidity parameters in real-time.

Shock detection: Strong vibration and shaking may cause some damage to the tracked items, so shock detection is critical for fragile and valuable shipments in order to prevent unnecessary disputes.

Any unusual activities: LoRa-enabled smart container tracking and monitoring solution allows operators to have a better understanding of the location and status of their shipments, and enables them to respond faster if there is any unusual activity.

Benefits of leveraging LoRa in smart container tracking

The benefits of deploying LoRa technology in smart container tracking and monitoring are enormous, as you can find LoRa applications throughout the journey from the beginning of the shipment to delivery at the final location. Below will show you how LoRa is revolutionizing the performance, efficiency, and security of smart containers. Let’s delve into the top benefits of IoT smart container tracking.

Benefits of leveraging LoRa in smart container tracking

Real-time monitoring of shipments

Container shipping is a complex transport system, generally involving a wide geographic range and a variety of transport modes, including waterways, roads, and railways. In this case, it’s difficult to keep real-time monitoring of shipments in transit. The wide coverage and low power consumption of LoRa enable massive wireless connections and transmissions, making it possible to accurately track the location of containers and shipments during transportation, as well as monitor their status.

In the supply chain of cargo such as fresh food and medicine, there is a specific temperature storage environment beyond which goods are likely to be damaged. This is an avoidable loss for container carriers. Real-time container monitoring can help ensure that perishable products don’t spoil in transit and provide you with alerts if something goes wrong.

Better supply chain visibility and efficiency

One of the key benefits of LoRa-based IoT container monitoring is providing better supply chain visibility. From loading, discharge, trans-shipment, vessel arrival and departure, there are many problems that lead to supply chain disruptions and inefficiencies. With the real-time tracking system, it is possible to see where the containers are and how they are moving through the supply chain at any time, thus better optimizing the overall planning and management of the supply chain.

Enhancing cargo security

Even the smallest glitch can result in lost, stolen, or damaged shipments. Needless to say, the monetary loss of such an accident is undesirable and can be avoided by leveraging a LoRa-enabled container tracking system. Smart LoRa devices and LoRaWAN standard provide better tracking and monitoring of the shipping cargo, enhancing the safety and security of assets. Besides, actionable insights can be gained based on the real-time collection and analysis of location data.

Boosting crisis management

The automatic and continuous capture of real-time data on the location and status of smart containers has enhanced crisis management. The collected data can be helpful to identify unexpected events such as shipping delays and accidental door openings. Moreover, it will give an instant alert to the concerned operators, allowing them to take prompt actions in case of crisis. Apart from increasing transparency in operations, sensors also help to save a lot of money and time.

Improving customer service

One of the often overlooked benefits of a container tracking solution is that it improves customer service levels. With effective and accurate container tracking, companies can provide more visibility to their customers with more information on the location, status, and estimate arrival times of their shipments. What’s more, higher customer satisfaction is critical for a company’s success in a competitive business environment. IoT container tracking delivers the high level of service that customers expect.

Reducing costs

A smart container tracking and monitoring solution can deliver abundant benefits for those involved, including streamlining delivery operations and reducing costs. Based on valuable data about the movement and status of containers and cargo, businesses can not only optimize their shipping routes to reduce transportation costs, but also make more informed decisions to reduce cargo theft and deterioration by leveraging temperature control and anti-theft capabilities. In short, it plays an important role in optimizing operations and minimizing the cost associated with damaged or lost containers.

The future of connected smart container tracking

Advancement in IoT technology offers great opportunities to ensure the visibility, quality, and security of containers during the journey. Stakeholders can have a reliable understanding of the location and condition of the container and make optimization and adjustments based on the analyzed and processed data. With the wide application of IoT technology in container tracking, it will definitely push containers toward intelligence. And the changes brought by the smart containers can be shown at all nodes of the shipping supply chain, creating more value for all supply chain participants.

Of course, IoT will not end up focusing on the intelligent transformation of containers, it continues to promote the development of individual smart containers to ecological chain smart containers. Although there is a long way toward achieving connected smart container tracking, it can be expected that the integration of IoT and other high-tech modern information technologies such as big data, blockchain, and AI will accelerate the process. IoT will play an active role in supply chain development, and its application in supply chain management will be more and more extensive.

MOKOLoRa solution for smart container tracking

A growing number of companies in the manufacturing and distribution industries are realizing the importance to have transparency and traceability in their supply chain operations. With a real-time smart container tracking system, changes in shipment movements, status, and arrival times are all visible. Serving as a professional IoT manufacturer of LoRaWAN devices and solutions, MOKOLoRa is your best partner to provide you with feasible and cost-effective asset tracking solutions. Talk to our expert and take your first step into our robust LoRaWAN hardware.

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