Hapag-Lloyd kicks off online reefer program

Hapag-Lloyd kicks off online reefer program

Hapag-Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd will begin taking delivery of a new 13,420 reefer order in November, signaling the start of the carrier’s campaign to bring its entire fleet of refrigerated containers online.

The Hamburg-based carrier announced an order for 970 TEU and 12,450 FEU with production of the reefer containers starting later this month. It will take the carrier’s reefer fleet capacity to 210,000 TEU, or more than 100,000 40-foot containers.

Hapag-Lloyd will install tracking devices from Danish hardware maker Globe Tracker on each box as part of the broader Hapag-Lloyd LIVE monitoring program. The product features will be made available to customers as the installation of the equipment proceeds, offering real-time GPS positioning, information on the temperature inside the container, and systems for notifications and alarm management, among other features.

Refrigerated containers have led the way in the industry adoption of Internet-of-Things tracking technology with shippers willing to pay a premium to track high-value shipments carried in the boxes. It is also easier to fit tracking devices to reefers as they can be powered by the container generator, unlike dry containers, which require a power source to be built in to the device.

Tracking goes mainstream

But it looks like online tracking of dry containers is heading for the mainstream following Maersk’s announcement that it has equipped Hamburg Sud’s reefer fleet with online trackers, and commitments from Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co., and CMA CGM to equip 50,000 containers each with sensors from Marseille-based technology provider Traxens.

Additionally, terminal operating software maker Navis this week tied up a partnership with Israel-based Loginno, another sensor maker aiming to equip shipping lines with devices to track key data from container movement.

Behind the tracking moves is a desire by shippers and freight forwarders to reduce their dependence on carriers providing status updates on the whereabouts and condition of in-transit containers. Those updates are generally provided via electronic data interchange (EDI) or more rudimentary formats, including email or text. By giving customers access to GPS-based locations of containers, data can theoretically be obtained more completely, accurately, and quickly.

Alan Murphy, CEO of SeaIntelligence, said with the recent commitments by the carriers, container shipping will soon have more than 600,000 containers online and trackable in real-time.

“If this adds the value everyone believes will be the case, we are clearly past a point of no return, where competitive pressure will compel all carriers to eventually provide this feature as a matter of course,” he said. “In the first few years, this can be seen as a competitive value-add, but in a few years that will change into becoming a qualifier to even be competitive.”

Contact Greg Knowler at greg.knowler@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.