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American ShipperContainerMaritimeNewsOcean shippingTechnology

New data standard aims to ease smart container tracking

A start-up backed by Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and CMA CGM has developed a standard for data transmission from smart containers, a step toward giving shippers better visibility of their goods on both sea and land. 

Marseille, France-based Traxens said a United Nations intergovernmental body for trade facilitation has published the company’s standards for smart container data exchange.

The standards create a common language for tracking devices to notify shippers and carriers of events such as container position, movement, temperature, door openings and shocks. 

Smart containers equipped with telematics devices only make up about 2.5% of the global fleet, or about 600,000, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants. But they are expected to take up a greater share of the fleet in the coming years, with Drewry predicting upward of 2 million smart containers by 2023, representing 6.5% of the global fleet.

Traxens itself is deploying 150,000 smart devices on the container fleets of Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM.  

The standards were developed under the leadership of Traxens Senior Manager Hanane Becha, who has been working on the project since October 2017. These new standards will be the basis for API development, bringing technology into every aspect of the supply chain and providing powerful and innovative tools. 

“Thanks to smart containers standardized messages, the computer representation of the supply chain will become synchronized with the physical world, increasing the speed and accuracy of decision-making, the automation as part of transport and logistics execution and the seamless collaboration between stakeholders,” Becha said. 

Jacques Delort, managing director of Traxens, said the new standard “can be combined with other innovations such as blockchain, big data or data pipelines to provide even more uses in the trading community.”

“In all of these cases, though, we see that creating clear, unambiguous message exchange standards will unlock the further potential of enhanced data,” he added.

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.

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