AP Moller-Maersk is the latest container line to throw its weight behind developing IoT applications in container shipping
The Danish shipping giant has joined fellow logistics companies CMA CGM and MSC as a major shareholder and customer of container monitoring and co-ordination specialist Traxens.
As well as acquiring a stake in the company, Maersk will install the Traxens tracking system on 50,000 of its dry containers.
Maersk’s vice president and head of equipment Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard says “Creating visibility into the condition and location of containerised cargo is bringing Maersk’s strategy to offer digital end-to-end solutions to life.
“Having pioneered IoT technology in our reefer fleet, we are excited to join Traxens and collaborate on the huge potential within connected containers.
Established in 2012, Traxens specialises in technology for tracking and monitoring cargo through ‘smart containers’. As well as GPS tracking, these are fitted with a sensor package that can detect shocks, unexpected door openings, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as well as automatically detecting transport mode, mileage and CO2 emissions.
CMA CGM was the first container line to invest in the startup back in 2012, with MSC coming on board in 2016. The two companies both announced in late 2018 that, like Maersk, they would each equip 50,000 containers in their respective fleets with Traxens devices.
MSC Group president and chief executive Diego Aponte said at the time, “While shipping lines should compete on service, we will achieve better results for our customers by working in a more harmonised way on technology and innovation.
“Smart containers are a perfect example of where we can co-operate according to industry standards to make our services truly comprehensive.”
In July this year, Traxens announced it was joining the French SmartPort in Med initiative, a project that seeks to support the digital transformation of the Port of Marseille Fos.
The technology behind Traxens can be applied to both dry and reefer containers, and other assets such as railway wagons and truck trailers. A standard set of embedded sensors is included in the default configuration, but additional sensors can be added if required to meet specific customer needs.
Traxens also led the development of the first standards for smart container data exchange, published by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitaiton and Electronic Business in October this year.
While there are several smart container projects active, global standards for consistent multimodal capture and communication of the array of data they generate were previously lacking. The new standards will provide a basis for API development and ensure interoperability and easy integration with different systems.
Traxens managing director Jacques Delort says “This [Traxens] technology 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 cases, we see that creating clear, unambiguous message exchange standards will unlock the further potential of enhanced data.”
Shipbuilder aims to offer IoT connectivity as standard
With owners increasingly using IoT to monitor and optimise vessel performance, a shipbuilder is planning to implement its own IoT platform on newbuilds.
Damen, the Netherlands-based shipbuilder, has partnered with Indian technology consultancy Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop an integrated IoT platform for use on Damen-built vessels.
Damen’s vessels span a range of sectors including ferries, tugs and workboats, offshore support vessels, fishing craft, superyachts and more.
The IoT platform will enable increased vessel connectivity, as well as gathering and analysing data from vessels, which can carry as many as 15,000 sensors.
Analysis of this data facilitates productive maintenance, remote services and optimisation in areas such as fuel consumption.
The technology will be deployed on Damen newbuildings to enhance operations throughout their lifecycle, and it is envisioned that both Damen and their customers will be able to access the data gathered.
The IoT collaboration follows the announcement in August that Damen would use an enterprise resource planning suite from TCS.
Damen chief information officer Aart Rupert anticipates further levels of collaboration and knowledge sharing with vessel owners and the wider maritime eco-system.
“This will aid Damen in its graduation from shipbuilder to maritime services provider,” says Mr Rupert. It will enable Damen to assist its clients throughout the entire lifecycle of their vessel.
“Our intention is to build a platform to share information with our ecosystem,” says Mr Rupert.
“We can collect a lot of data and we can combine that with information from our ERP system or from our engineering platform.”
“We can make our ships smarter with benefits including fuel savings and predictive maintenance.”