Use of Smart Containers set to boom over the next few years

July 17, 2023 /

According to some research conducted by Drewry, the smart container fleet is expected to grow six-fold over the next five years.

The fleet is projected to increase from 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2020 to 1.9 million TEUs by 2026. This represents a substantial growth rate for smart container adoption.

Several factors are contributing to the expected expansion of the smart container market. These include the increasing demand for real-time tracking and monitoring of cargo, the need for enhanced supply chain visibility, regulatory requirements for the transportation of sensitive goods, and advancements in technology enabling more affordable and accessible smart container solutions.

Here are some key features and benefits commonly associated with smart containers:

Tracking and Monitoring: Smart containers use GPS, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies to track the container's location and monitor parameters like temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration. This data can help shippers and logistics companies optimise routes, identify potential issues, and ensure cargo integrity.

Cargo Security: Smart containers may have built-in security measures such as tamper-proof seals, intrusion detection systems, and video surveillance to prevent theft and unauthorised access to the cargo. Any breach or tampering attempts can trigger alerts and notifications.

Condition Monitoring: By integrating sensors, smart containers can continuously monitor environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, inside the container. This feature is particularly crucial for transporting perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, or other sensitive products, as it ensures compliance with storage requirements.

Real-time Data and Analytics: The data collected by smart containers can be transmitted in real-time to a centralized platform. This allows stakeholders to access valuable insights, perform data analytics, and make informed decisions based on the container's location, condition, and other relevant information.

Supply Chain Efficiency: Smart containers help optimize supply chain operations by reducing delays, improving cargo visibility, and enhancing overall efficiency. With accurate and timely information, logistics providers can better plan and execute transportation, resulting in cost savings and improved customer service.

It's important to note that while the concept of smart containers is gaining traction in the shipping industry, the adoption and implementation of such technologies may vary among companies and regions. Drewry's research and analysis in this field may provide valuable insights and guidance for industry stakeholders.

While the growth of the smart container fleet presents significant opportunities, there are also challenges to address. These include the cost of implementing smart container technology, interoperability issues between different systems, ensuring data security and privacy, and standardization across the industry. Overcoming these challenges will be crucial for the widespread adoption of smart containers.