Shipping containers – Transport in transition
Shipping containers are the most widely utilised transport method in the world. Responsible for more than 80% of global transportation of trade goods, the standardised TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) container became increasingly popular after World War II, and their use continues to grow today.
While no one knows exactly how many containers are currently in use, a conservative estimate would be that there are 28 to 31 million traveling around the globe today. Two to three million additional containers are produced and deployed each year.
With more and more containers in transit, it is increasingly complex to keep track of an individual container and the status of its contents. At the same time, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers all need to increase profitability through better stock control and loss prevention.
Regulation and consumer demands create additional pressures. For example, to ensure quality, pharmaceuticals and fresh produce companies need to assure their goods are being safely transported in cold chain at specific temperatures. The solution to all these challenges may be found in intelligent containers.
Making smarter shipping containers
There has historically been a low degree of differentiation between container manufacturers. Since the late 1990s, the industry has transitioned from being highly fragmented to considerably consolidated. Chinese manufacturers now dominate the market, accounting for more than 97% of global container production volume (Source: Berg Insight).
Mobile technology advances mean that connectivity for individual containers can now be provided at a reasonable cost. Internet of Things (IoT) technology, coupled with this mobile connectivity, has made it possible for containers to become intelligent. These advancements are enabling logistics equipment manufacturers such as CIMC to differentiate by providing a wider range of value-added services, fitting customers’ needs for more advanced traceability, control and security.