Smart containers are an amalgamation of traditional meets technological. Through them, global trade is advancing towards digital flow with the use of IoT technologies, solar panels, GPS tracking, sensors, and other such modifications. Shipping containers are used for transporting raw materials, machines, food, pharmaceutical medicines, and many other things. There is always a risk of container, item, or ship getting lost due to bad weather, manual discrepancies, or others situations. But when the shipping units are fitted with state-of-the-art technologies, the chance of losing boxes or items becomes less. Being fitted with enhanced security systems, the operators get to know about the problems at their first level and this helps in reducing any such risk at earlier stages only.
With the use of smart containers, the shippers don’t have to assume the timing of the arrival of cargo. All the data is fed in digital shipment records that are shared with the shippers. It also helps in proper management of shipment as when the shipper knows the time of arrival of a cargo ship, they get ready with all the necessary papers and keep the manpower or machines ready and this leads to faster unloading.
Before learning more about smart ones let’s look at traditional means of tracking progress.
Tracking shipping boxes using the traditional method is painfully undependable and manual. The predicted arrival time is inaccurate and can lead to disruption in the global supply chain. As when the arrival time is not clear, every next stage process will be delayed. The traditional data collection method is expensive, error-prone, and incomplete. The containers getting lost or dropped in the wrong port is another issue that is not catered to in traditional operation methods.
Whereas smart containers are installed with the technologies that make every transportation functioning of shipping the containers smooth.
What are smart containers?
Smart containers are none other than standard shipping boxes, just that they are added with technological benefits. By fitting them with IoT devices and sensors, they outsmart standard shipping units. Smart containers are the ones that live stream the real-time data during transit. This allows the shippers to be pre-prepared for cargo unloading and other shipment relating proceedings. With smart containers, the shippers can meet up higher demands by managing the shipping details beforehand. They are perfectly capable of sensing any movement, thus keeping all the cargo safe, so the shipper can leave all the worries of the merchandise getting stolen.
They have made reefer containers smarter by tracking, remotely adjusting the levels, and maintaining internal adjustments. Through this, they can save their perishables from becoming stale. Through the use of smart containers, the shippers can control and adjust the temperatures inside to meet up with temperatures’ outside. As the ship covers huge distances, it is difficult to match up with the temperatures outside, but with smart reefers, you increase the competencies. Just like reefers when every container is fitted with smart techniques, they help in micro and macro advancements of the shipping industry. They make the shipping world proceeding more efficient by enhancing productivity and reducing error and effort.
What are the advantages smart containers offer?
Smart containers offer some very outstanding advantages that make them way better than standard shipping containers.
Data security and Transparency
The collected electronic data is encrypted from end-to-end that saves it from getting damaged. They help the shippers, stakeholders, and others in the shipping industry to enjoy secure, transparent, and fraud-free data sharing among them, without taking the tension of data getting breached.
Track and safeguard cargo
Cargoes are often subjected to damage during container transportation if proper care is not taken by the shipping officials or freight forwarder. The merchandise that is being shipped sometimes contains hazardous or inflammable objects. That if not labeled or handled properly can put many at risk. But by using smart containers, they get alerted before any such danger and the danger can be mitigated without causing anyone harm.
The shipper can entertain real-time data with the container being connected to the internet 24/7. This gives the feasibility of knowing about the shipping unit’s location wherever they are. The shippers stay in touch with the boxes and can check their ETA and movement areas. There is an alert option so if the shipping box moves away from the way or the container door is opened unexpectedly, they will be notified instantly.
Fine and Penalty Avoidance
Mis-declared containers can incur the shippers a huge penalty but with smart containers, mislabeling is not possible due to their advanced sensors.
Minimum Error in Data Capturing
Earlier data collection and handling was a huge task and getting information in real-time was not even possible. The shippers have to live in uncertainty. But with the arrival of smart containers, the data is collected automatically and the shippers can get to access the data instantly by sitting in the remotest locations.
Through them, the shipper can keep the exact temperatures all the time and if the temperature rises or falls than the needed one, the shipper gets alert and can remotely set it to right again. Thus, keeping the perishable items like food items, fruits, and others fresh for a long.
Though smart containers pose many advantages they have their own set of risks that can be avoided by playing smart.
What are the risks of smart containers and how to avoid them?
As containers are made from highly corrugated steel and stacked with different cargoes, it might lead to interference with the connection between container and operator. The risk can be mitigated by using upgraded network coverage.
As smart containers are fitted with IoT technologies, they are always at risk of becoming the prey of cyber-crime. This leads to data getting hacked or manipulated that can be avoided by using firewalls and by implementing a high-end security system.
Smart containers’ invention has emerged as a boon for the shipping container providers and shipping industry. By using the units, the shippers can save themselves from huge budget problems as they can track their cargo wherever it goes. They can remotely monitor the temperature control and it gives them an anti-theft feature for their goods. In this way they can save themselves from humongous damages.
At LOTUS Containers, we have been offering new and used containers for sale, lease, and purchase. No matter what be the cargo size, type, and location, we make sure to fulfil all your requirements by providing the widest range of containers.