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Container tracking trials

Schenker has fitted out ten of its containers with special sensors in addition to RFID technology. These GPS security devices communicate the current GPS coordinates, temperature levels and security parameters (like door activities). The transport units are in regular use between Hamburg and Hong Kong.

The first test phase for the RFID technology has been successfully completed. RFID status notifications communicate the most important points where liability changes hands, when the containers are loaded and unloaded at the packing stations in Hamburg and Hong Kong, as well as the time of arrival at the terminal. This gives a clear view of when and where the load is being transshipped.

"It is becoming clear that this technology will be ripe for serial production in the near future. At least the RFID technology promises to be suitable for use on a wide scale, from a business point of view as well," commented Dr. Wolfgang Dräger, Senior Vice President, PM Ocean Freight, Schenker AG.

The new GPS sensors give information at regular intervals about conditions in the container: is it cold or hot, are there any sudden temperature changes? Does the container get shaken up in the course of the journey? Does it deviate from the planned route? These and other data are compiled in a report, which Schenker can then consult. "As soon as this technology is ready for serial production, it will open up new possibilities of service to our particularly demanding industrial customers," explained Dr. Wolfgang Dräger. "For example, the temperature of pharmaceutical products and other sensitive goods can be continuously monitored, which could come out cheaper in the long term than transporting them in refrigerated containers, provided that the appropriate temperature tolerances can be guaranteed."

It is a similar situation with goods that are vulnerable to shock, like laptops and other valuable articles. Even if it is not possible to prevent the goods from being shaken about at all, at least you can determine in retrospect when and where they have been exposed to shock and what has occurred. Finally it is possible to determine when and where the door of the container has been opened. If this happens unexpectedly or the door is forced, an alarm is triggered and at the same time appropriate security measures will be initiated.

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