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Indiaexportnews.com

A first from APL: satellite tracking of container temperatures

  08.06.2010    

Global shipping line APL announced an industry first: a satellite tracking service that continually monitors the temperature and humidity of refrigerated containers carrying sensitive cargo.
Called SMARTemp™, the service provides real-time data on reefer containers from origin to destination.  It can eliminate costly and time-consuming processes including post-voyage cargo validation, which is currently essential to ensure sensitive high-value products such as pharmaceuticals are fit for market.
“In SMARTemp™, APL has created the industry’s most rigorous freight monitoring and protection capabilities,” said APL President, Eng Aik Meng.  “It offers unrivalled time, cost and quality advantages to shippers of products which have zero tolerance for supply chain downtime.”
SMARTemp™ has been developed and tested by APL over the past two years, said Mr Eng.  It can be installed simply and cost effectively, he added, without the need for shippers to make additional investments in measuring equipment.
The APL SMARTemp™ communication module (patent pending) decodes data from a microprocessor controller fixed to the cargo container, which records temperature and humidity levels and transmits this via satellite to APL’s central server.  Customers can retrieve real-time data via APL’s HomePort e-commerce portal.
SMARTemp™ allows users to customise the frequency of data updates based on cargo type and handling requirements.  Information can be accessed by individual bill of lading or container number, either in an onscreen table format or exported to Excel spreadsheet.  Information can also be archived for up to two months.
SMARTemp™ utilises the low orbit Iridium satellite constellation which, combined with proprietary software in the APL communication module, ensures signal integrity even when containers are closely stacked on board vessels.
For sensitive high-value products such as pharmaceuticals, even minute temperature and humidity fluctuations can be disastrous.  Therefore, if freight reaches a pre-defined threshold in transit, SMARTemp™ provides e-mail or SMS alerts to APL’s on-call cargo teams for immediate action.
“The unique SMARTemp™ features could lead to a significant expansion of the type and volume of sensitive high-value cargoes transported via ocean,” said Eric Eng, Vice President, APL Global Reefer.  “SMARTemp™ will give shippers greater confidence that ocean freight is an increasingly viable transportation option for cargo which has traditionally moved by air.” 


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