Maersk Line has set a 24 July launch date for its new Remote Container Management (RCM) technology.
The product will provide Maersk Line customers with a reefer’s location, power status and the atmospheric conditions and temperature inside the container.
The company’s staff will manage the container, either remotely or through notifications to local technicians if a hands-on fix is required.
Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer for Maersk Line, said: “The old days of waiting, hoping and reacting are over. Our customers can now monitor and make decisions about their supply chain as their cargo moves, as well as use the data to study and improve their entire supply chain. Particularly for our customers with very sensitive, higher value refrigerated cargo, RCM significantly raises the total value proposition of refrigerated container trade.”
In a statement, Maersk Line described the technology as “relatively simple”. A GPS, a modem and a SIM card on all 270,000 of Maersk’s reefer containers enables readings to be continuously collected and stored. That information then reaches customers and global support teams via satellite transmitters on 400 of the company’s ships.
Cargo information will be provided during land transport, not just at sea. One benefit of this, the company said, is that if a reefer is not being pre-cooled as agreed at the farm, the customer can see this in the temperature graph on their screen and can follow-up with the supplier and the farm.
Likewise, if a truck driver or port worker turns of the power to the reefer, this will be visible to the customer who can then act on that information. The system can also alert customers if a container malfunctions so that the customer can act accordingly.
According to Maersk Line, in the first six months of 2017, RCM has alerted it to more than 4,500 incorrect temperature settings on customers’ reefers. In 200 of those cases, the setting inaccuracy was severe enough that had RCM not notified Maersk Line personnel which then made the necessary changes, the cargo—collectively worth several million dollars to our customers—would have been lost.
Anne Sophie Zerlang, head of reefer for Maersk Line, said: “We expect we will see an increase in our traditional perishable reefer volumes like agriculture as a result of RCM, but also new opportunities in sectors like pharmaceuticals where there is also a need for the kind of supply chain integrity RCM provides. As we receive feedback and learn more from our customers, we will look for ways to improve and expand the value of RCM.”
While accessing the data will be free to all customers, they will have to pay a subscription fee, based on the number of containers shipped, to download all data from the full journey of the container.