How IoT and blockchain is set to transform the global cargo industry

The online tracking of trailers, containers, rail wagons and cargo boxes is becoming increasingly common in all markets across the globe. New technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, will enable more secure automation of this activity.

Berg Insight released the findings from their latest global market study. The number of active tracking devices deployed for cargo loading units -- including trailers, intermodal containers, rail freight wagons, air cargo containers, cargo boxes and pallets -- reached 3.7 million worldwide in 2017.

Market development of cargo tracking devices

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6 percent, the number of devices is expected to reach 8.9 million by 2022, according to the Berg Insight forecast. Based upon the current assessment, the tracking solutions market will greatly benefit from a digital transformation.

Trailer telematics is the most developed market today, however in terms of installed units the intermodal container tracking market is expected to take over the leading position during the forecast period.

The markets for rail freight wagon and air freight cargo tracking are smaller but will grow substantially during the next five years. Berg Insight ranks ORBCOMM as the largest vendor of tracking solutions for cargo loading units, having a significant installed base of trailers as well as containers.

The company has been highly involved in M&A activity related to real-time asset tracking, including notable acquisitions such as Blue Tree Systems, Euroscan and WAM Technologies.

Moreover, ORBCOMM has been involved in the joint Maersk and AT&T project to equip Maersk’s entire fleet of nearly 300,000 refrigerated containers with real-time tracking solutions.

The project is one of the largest cellular-based wireless industrial IoT deployments of its kind. ORBCOMM is together with SkyBitz, Omnitracs, Spireon and I.D. Systems the leading players on the North American trailer telematics market -- based upon the number of active units.

The European trailer telematics market is smaller than the North American and is dominated by Idem Telematics, Schmitz Cargobull and Novacom. On the market for container tracking solutions, two major vendors are Envotech and Numerex based in Malaysia and the U.S. respectively.

Asto Telematics and Nexiot based in Europe, and Amsted Rail based in North America, are key vendors offering tracking solutions for rail freight wagons. Sensitech and Sendum Wireless are notable players in the general cargo segment, also offering solutions for air freight cargo tracking.

Outlook for remote tracking solutions

"The market for remote tracking solutions for cargo containers has entered a growth period that will continue for several years to come," said Martin Bäckman, IoT analyst at Berg Insight. He adds that there will be a strong focus on increased supply chain visibility and cargo transport security.

"Customers today demand and expect information about the status and location of their shipments in real-time and shippers who cannot provide this type of data will miss out on business opportunities," concludes Mr. Bäckman.

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