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RFID & Wireless IoT Global

Maersk improves the entire cold chain with wireless IoT solutions

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 10 April 2017
Maersk‘s Remote Container Management uses GSM and satellite coverage to track the entire refrigerated container fleet. Maersk‘s Remote Container Management uses GSM and satellite coverage to track the entire refrigerated container fleet. Photo: Maersk

Staying Cool

At Cool Logistics Global 2015, the world‘s biggest shipping line, Maersk, announced that all of their 270,000 refrigerated containers worldwide had been outfitted with IoT tracking solutions. In 2016, Cool Logistics Global came to the port of Bremen – and Maersk reported on their experiences with Remote Container Management.

Catja Rasmussen, Head of Remote Container Management, and Shereen Zarkani, Head of Reefer Management, Maersk Line, in an interview with “RFID & Wireless IoT Global”

Remote Monitoring

In 2011, Maersk started developing a solution to remotely monitor its fleet of refrigerated containers. By 2017, what began as a small project has become an operational division within Maersk Line. As head of Remote Container Management, Catja Rasmussen oversees personnel at Maersk Line’s Copenhagen headquarters in Denmark as well as in Chennai, India. Together, these teams assure 24 hour coverage of all refrigerated containers, leading to optimisations in maintenance, compliance, quality, and more. Now, Maersk shares their experiences with the industry.

“Maersk‘s 270,000 refrigerated containers represent a fifth of all refrigerated containers worldwide. Of course, being a pioneer carries certain risks. But we are now looking back on a full year of benefiting from this solution and can safely say that it was well worth the risk.” - Catja Rasmussene

Managing Big Data

“Maersk learned a lot from Remote Container Management,” Shereen Zarkani, Head of Reefer Management at Maersk, says. “When all the data was in, we felt overwhelmed. Billions of data points had to be understood. Every single Maersk refrigerated container reports hourly, transmitting 80 different sensor readings no matter where it is in the world. Maersk had to hire additional experts to transform this incredible volume of readings into actionable data.” During that time, Maersk Line chose to not yet disclose their Remote Container Management project. In retrospect, Zarkani is confident this was the correct decision: “The project needed time to mature, and we needed to mature with it.”

Reducing maintenance costs through predictive maintenance

Once the flow of Big Data had been properly managed, Maersk immediately began to see the benefits: “Remote Container Management provides us with unprecedented visibility. One of the advantages concerns pre-trip inspection. Traditionally, each container had to go through a full pre-trip inspection – a process which took up to six hours. Now, Remote Container Management enables us to monitor container health and we can use predictive modelling to preventively schedule pre-trip inspections on those containers that need it and 12-minute visual inspections for the rest. It has led to numerous changes in management, both internally and in relationship to our customers,” Zarkani explains.

“Maersk will be able to share live Remote Container Management data with customers by mid-2017. Providing key actionable data will enable other parties to reap the same benefits that Maersk is reaping right now. Maersk is interested in a value proposition that works, so we listened to where our partners‘ interests lie and what they need from us. Most of these interests are common interests along the entire cold chain. The only way to move forward as an industry is together.” - Shereen Zarkani

Tracking 270,000 containers worldwide

A project on the scale of Maersk‘s Remote Container Tracking is never without issues. Integration into the back-end systems took years, as did outfitting every single Maersk refrigerated container circulating worldwide. During the course of the project, Maersk brought the installation time down to 20 minutes per box. But since the flow of containers could not be disturbed, implementation took five years. Zarkani says: “We have installed the system on 270,000 refrigerated containers and that alone took time. But it is our belief that if you want to innovate, you cannot compromise. It is all or nothing.”

Read the full use case published in the February 2017 issue of the leading trade journal "RFID & Wireless IoT Global". Download your personal digital copy of the magazine now and gain exclusive insight into more use cases and the potential of RFID & Wireless IoT technologies for process optimisation in different industries.

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Last modified on Monday, 10 April 2017 10:55