Smart Shipping Containers: The Future of the Shipping Industry
Today, advanced technology has entered nearly every area of our life and integrated into every industry. So, it’s no wonder that the cargo shipping industry strives to catch up with digitalization.
In 2022, smart shipping containers made up 3.6% of the global container fleet. The smart containers market was estimated at $3.9 billion. And it is expected to hit the $9.7 billion mark by 2027, while shipping containers with smart technologies will account for nearly 30% of the total container count by that time. Hence, the game-changer potential and promising future of smart cargo containers are hard to underestimate.
What Is a Smart Shipping Container?
As the name suggests, a smart container is a cargo unit with smart capabilities maintained by sensors and digital devices, ensuring permanent data collection and real-time data transmission. The best thing is that any standard container can be converted into a smart one by using the appropriate equipment.
Smart shipping container technologies can provide you with nearly any bit of info about the container itself and the cargo. Let’s consider some of the key data tracked.
GPS tracking will let an operator know where the container is at any point in time. By monitoring the geolocation, the carrier, and consignee can trace the cargo’s progress, estimate the arrival time, and check if it’s delivered to the right port. This will help shipping companies reposition empty units more efficiently.
Technologies for smart shipping containers relying on different types of sensors allow monitoring of temperature fluctuations, humidity, pressure, and other essential metrics inside and outside the container. This type of control is vital for fragile, perishable, and sensitive cargo that call for specific conditions to be delivered intact.
A shock detector will inform an operator if any physical impact on the container and cargo occurs that might be caused by the sea storm, for example. Besides, a customer and a freight forwarder will be able to check if the cargo is damaged or remains intact.
Light sensors or dedicated door openings sensors installed on the container doors will consistently track the door status during the whole journey and signalize if container doors are opened before the unit gets to its unloading point.
Abnormal or Suspicious Activity
Security is a critical issue for all shippers, since no security system is perfect. Containers with smart technologies offer the highest level of protection thanks to the capability of pinpointing any unusual activity around the container, not to mention real-time checks of door locks and cargo integrity.
Why You Should Use Smart Shipping Containers
Smart solutions for shipping containers offer great opportunities for increasing supply chain efficiency and optimizing the entire logistics network to the max. Smart cargo containers come up with advantages you’ll benefit from immediately.
Automatic Data Collection
Data is collected automatically under the schedule you can set on your own. Then, the info is processed and synchronized into a shared digital database, thus, reducing errors and ensuring better accuracy.
With constant access to real-time data, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your container during transportation at any time and anywhere. This makes the whole distribution process more controllable.
Cargo Quality Monitoring
Multiple sensors will measure and monitor all possible metrics inside and outside the container that impact the cargo and its quality. This function is especially useful for sensitive cargo checkups.
Shipping Cost Optimization
Containers with smart technologies allow forwarders to manage their logistic assets remotely, thus, minimizing damages and losses, which, in turn, helps minimize risk-related expenses and optimize overall transportation costs.
Efficient Cargo Management
By generalizing and analyzing the data collected by smart cargo containers, you’ll be able to detect and prevent supply chain problems as well as cargo quality issues and nail down better transportation itineraries.
Challenges and Risks of Using Smart Containers
As with any other technological improvement, along with benefits, smart shipping containers have certain difficulties and challenges to overcome.
Higher Container Price
Technology comes with a cost. A standard shipping container is more affordable than a smart unit equipped with pricey electronics. The good news is that automation becomes less expensive over time and allows for saving on manual labor.
Digital technology is exposed to cybersecurity risks, so shippers have to implement special protective systems to keep hacker attacks at bay and shield transmitted data.
Made of heavy-duty steel, bulky shipping containers might interfere with the sensor’s work and hinder data transmission. So, a powerful and efficient communication network is a must when implementing smart shipping container technologies.
How Smart Shipping Containers Can Be Used
The future of smart shipping containers is a surefire increase in their use in the industry, since containers with smart technologies provide certain benefits to all stakeholders engaged in a supply chain.
Shippers and Customers
By timely getting accurate info about the cargo and transportation progress, consignors and consignees can make quick and efficient decisions to avert incidents and improve cargo security.
Automated processes will make it much easier for the ship’s crew to check containers and decrease human error.
Smart containers will ensure peace of mind for their owners, keeping them aware of their location and condition. This will also help owners manage their fleets more efficiently.
In charge of container circulation and availability, depot operators will significantly benefit from smart container technology, enabling them to maintain up-to-date online inventories.
Consider Pelican Containers as Your Trusted Partner
As we’ve already mentioned, any regular container can become smart when fitted with appropriate equipment. And if you wonder where to buy a container, you can’t go wrong with Pelican Containers.
We’ve been on the market long enough to become a leading supplier of both brand-new and used cargo containers. We have steel boxes of all sizes and configurations to match varying customer needs. Our offices are scattered across the US, so we can easily deliver to your area.
With us, you can count on
- Fair pricing;
- Certified products;
- Excellent customer support, ready to provide every bit of assistance you need.
Look no further, and feel free to contact us directly to get your quote asap.
Why are smart shipping containers gaining popularity?
If you wonder why to use smart containers, the benefits they bring will activate a huge transformation of the whole cargo shipping and transportation industry for the better. Shipments will become safer, more efficient, controllable, and much easier to trace.
Smart shipping containers vs standard containers: which is better?
The scope of advantages offered by smart containers outweighs the related risks and challenges. So the biggest gripe as compared to traditional containers now is a higher smart container price.
What are the advantages of a smart container?
Looking at how smart containers can be used, they offer the ultimate control over the cargo and the entire transportation process to all supply chain members.