What is the importance of IoT in the Shipping Industry?

Role of IoT in the shipping industry

Equipped with multiple benefits, the importance of IoT in the shipping industry is based on its versatility, flexibility and reliability offered to its consumers. The Internet of Things is a growing trend that introduces a colossal network connecting physical devices digitally to help in providing real-time data. It is backed up by AI and machine learning that aids in collecting data to carry forward the other processes dynamically. These devices are anchored with sensors and software technologies to collect and exchange and share data on multiple devices and systems using the internet. Data collected is transferred to the cloud from where user access is granted, and the users can take necessary actions at the touch of their screens. Users are provided with Unique Identifier Codes(UIDs) that help access and monitor cargo fleets in transit. This blog explores the world of IoT in the shipping industry.

How does container tracking work?

Sea vessels are loaded with packed cargo containers to be prepared and signalled for transit across the world. After departure from ports, there remains significant uncertainty in cargo safety during the shipping process. The transportation industry, backed up by technologically developed tracking systems based on IoT solutions, helps monitor, control and track shipping containers during transit. The intermodal transport of shipping containers through various modes of transport has been made more secure and reliable as the supplier and the receiving party get access to the locations of their containers during the sea voyage.

What is the importance of IoT?

IoT in the trade industry has gained pace as it lends a helping hand in boosting profitability and the global economy. Real-time data is the real deal in the technological era. Using IoT devices, shippers can get real-time data about the whereabouts and health of the shipping containers and cargo. The importance of IoT is realised by shipping companies in tracking, regulating and managing the containers‘ internal environment and is most suited for shippers transporting perishables through reefer containers.

What are the applications of IoT in smart logistics?

IoT devices are wireless sensors attached to shipping containers to sense any change in the external environment. They aid first and second-party traders in multiple ways.

  • It helps in automating lighting and security systems and maintaining the internal environment of the containers.
  • Reefer and isolated containers receive maximum IoT assistance as they help control internal temperature and humidity.
  • Powered by GPS and AIS, it provides real-time tracking of the shipment.

Features of IoT

These smart devices are enriched with various features to benefit the trading parties. The smart features help in enhancing the importance of IoT in the shipping industry.

  • Artificial Intelligence – It uses innovative technology to inspect and make sense of the collected data.
  • Analysis – IoT uses AI and machine learning to understand and analyse the collected data to make data-driven decision-making in time.
  • Sensors in IoT – They sense and detect issues or changes in the internal or external environment of the containers.
  • Integration – IoT uses multiple technological models such as apps, software systems, and GPS and AIS tracking systems to enhance user experience.
  • Establishing connection – A network is formed between IoT devices, the cloud and IoT platforms for a seamless flow of information to the users.

Importance of IoT in the shipping industry

Machine learning and AI can utilise data from the IoT components to alert anomalies and improve shipping services‘ efficiency.

  • The primary task of IoT is to monitor and control the internal environment of shipping containers. Automation helps in regulating temperature, humidity, and airflow in containers.
  • It helps track and filter the shortest and fastest routes for shipping by combining weather forecasts and energy-conserving routes.
  • It helps in utilising previous data to analyse and predict technical or equipment failures to assist in early or on-time maintenance and repairs whenever needed.
  • It boosts productivity by reducing the chances of breakdowns and errors and offering solutions in case of any disruptions.

Benefits of IoT in the shipping industry

  1. Reduces risks of cargo damage – IoT sensors gather information and analyse them to keep a check on the integrity of shipping containers and cargo. In case of any equipment failures or malfunctions, the management is alerted so that the damage can be controlled with time.
  2. Cost-effective – The on-time handling and repairs help reduce extra and unnecessary handling and maintenance charges. It prevents incurring heavy losses that may be caused due to damage to cargo.
  3. Environment friendly – IoT analyses and offers the best and most efficient routes for shipment, thereby leading to the consumption of less fuel and resources. This way, it helps in reducing GHG emissions and leaves a lesser carbon footprint.
  4. Customer-friendly – The traders need not worry about the whereabouts of their cargo. Real-time tracking of shipping containers assures the clients of cargo safety.

Limitations of IoT

Any system breach can lead to data leakage. Since everything is governed online, hacking and personal information misuse are high risks.

  • IoT relies on power backup and the internet. A power outage or network faults may lead to proper functioning disruptions and even cause severe damage to perishable cargo.
  • Deploying IoT devices on shipping containers or transport modes is costly and time-consuming.
  • The risks of glitches due to device malfunction or while handling large data sets in real-time can lead to inaccurate data displayed on screens and can disrupt the overall working and management.

In recent years, the importance of IoT has been recognised by the world’s major trade industries, including shipping. It has made container shipping more reliable, efficient and sustainable.

LOTUS Containers are shipping service providers that deploy IoT Solutions to offer shipping container services globally. We provide container leasing, selling and buyback services at budget-friendly prices

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