A long time ago, there weren't any standards for storing and shipping goods around. Then there was a revolution within which 2 genius men, Malcolm McLean, a transport entrepreneur, and Keith Tantlinger, a mechanical engineer, invented the first models of current containers. A uniform and standardized form that would significantly improve the industry for the better. And now, there is a new revolution on the horizon. A revolution that maybe even those smart men couldn't imagine. A revolution in the form of smart containers. This time the trick is not in the shape of a container but in the function. They are not just empty large boxes anymore. They now also provide information; information that helps the entire sector of the international logistic industry.
It wouldn't be long from now that smart containers would be the norm in the maritime sector. Simply digitizing and automating the simple tasks and straightforward, everyday bureaucracy of the offices, ports, and terminals was just the first step for the industry. The next step is the smart container.
A question that has been plaguing our minds for some time now is this: when you load the containers on the ships and until they arrive at the port (if they arrive at all), what happens to them? Answering this question is one motivation for using the new tools that digitization can offer. And the answer is a Smart container.
The smart part of the smart container comes from the fact that these new containers can communicate and channel information between themselves and shipping lines. Not only that, but it can also do the same with other digital freight forwards and import and export companies.
That's great, but what are the benefits of using them?
First, carriers that are going through the process of digitization are already using smart containers. This is because these containers are working with tech companies that digitize their fleet too.
Most of these tech companies provide a device to their customers, a device that automatically connects to the internet and is installed in dry containers. This device can transmit numerous valuable real-time information like the location of the container, the temperature it's in, the humidity of the air surrounding it, shock and vibrations it receives, and most importantly, the opening and closing of the doors that results in the optimize security. Many of the top names in the industry are using or are starting to use the services of these tech companies, and the number is going up day by day.
Another type of smart container is the kind that has RCM (Remote Container Management). A system that uses mobile and satellite connections to control and observe the refrigerated containers and the status of the goods inside them. Information like the level of CO2 and oxygen and, of course, the location of the container.
But it's not only shipping lines that benefit from this technology. Some ports around the world are also considering the use of techs similar to smart containers. Several ports, with the aid of companies related to the supply chain, are taking the initiative to produce a new smart container called Container 42. It's an ingenious invention that can store information over a 2-year trip. This kind of information can help the entire industry optimize resources and processes.
Without a doubt, it's a substantial fortune that carriers and freight forwards are adapting to new technologies offered by the internet and are taking advantage of it to connect instantly from their laptop or other devices to their cargo. You can be sure that in the future, more smart containers will be taken to the sea.