During the second quarter of 2021, the volume of intermodal containers grew by almost 30% year-over-year. Changes in consumer behavior, labor shortages at ports and other factors are forcing ports to work around the clock and freight technology companies to focus on solutions to increase that speed.
PowerFleet, a leading provider of wireless subscription Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and end-to-end solutions, recently demonstrated two new products that will address the challenge of supply chain congestion. supply and use of intermodal and trucking assets such as chassis, containers, trailers and trucks.
“Once the containers are unloaded, they have to travel inland to distribution centers and warehouses,” said John Athayde, vice president of brand design at PowerFleet. “Even if they take a train to an inland port, they end up on a chassis. Each chassis follows the same route. The driver collects the container, leaves that coastal or inland port and brings the container to a warehouse for loading. They then take the empty container back to the port and the process begins again. “
Under normal circumstances, a chassis would leave port with one container and return for another every three to five days. According to The Washington Post, this period was extended to 17 days. PowerFleet’s LV300 and LV750 work in tandem to provide real-time tracking and reporting on the location, condition and condition of trailers and chassis, as they leave ports with containers.
PowerFleet’s patent pending solution was deployed by one of the largest chassis companies in North America. Without the asset having to be in motion, PowerFleet’s technology can detect whether the container is mounted or the chassis is bare. Another feature that speeds up manual inspection is that it can detect how loaded the container is.
“If it’s loaded, I can contact that shipper to alert them that the load has been there for a few hours or days, and it’s ready to be unloaded,” Athayde said. “If the container is marked empty, I can send a driver to pick up the chassis with the container and bring it back to the port. Over time, managers can see which sites are having longer turnaround time issues and can be assessed for the scorecard in the system. “
Athayde called the intermodal freight challenges currently facing carriers and shippers “unprecedented”. The rapid movement of frames and containers at port, warehouse and jobsite is therefore essential to regain supply chain efficiency.
“Knowing the condition of your intermodal assets without in-person visual inspection can speed up this process,” he said.