COPENHAGEN: For every refrigerated ‘reefer’ container on the road, at sea or in a port somewhere in the world, there is a customer in the dark, forced to run their business without valuable information about the condition and location of their products.
For customers of Maersk Line and the Maersk family of container shipping lines, that ends on July 24, with the commercial launch of the "Remote Container Management" system, RCM.
Data driven supply chain visibility
With RCM, both customers and Maersk Line have complete access to the reefer’s current location, temperature and atmospheric conditions inside as well as the power status, at all times and no matter where it may be in the world. Meanwhile, Maersk Line’s RCM experts are to manage the container, either remotely or through notifications to local technicians if a hands-on fix is required, it highlighted in a release.
RCM is going to insert an unprecedented level of visibility and reliability into customers’ supply chains that will make their business better, says Mr Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer for Maersk Line.
“Particularly for our customers with very sensitive, higher value refrigerated cargo, RCM significantly raises the total value proposition of refrigerated container trade."
Identify critical supply chain weaknesses
If the impact of RCM is powerful, the technology behind it is relatively simple. A GPS, a modem and a SIM card on all 270,000 of Maersk’s refrigerated ‘reefer’ containers enables location, temperature, humidity and power status readings to be continuously collected and stored. That information then reaches customers and RCM global support teams via satellite transmitters on 400 of Maersk Line’s owned and chartered ships.
With clarity about the location and condition of the cargo at all times, not just during the ocean transport but throughout the journey of the container, RCM will help identify problem areas in customers’ supply chains and ways to improve them.
For example, if a customer’s reefer is not being pre-cooled as agreed at the farm, the customer can easily see this in the temperature graph on their screen and can contact or follow up with the supplier and the farm. Likewise, if a truck driver or port worker turns off the power to the reefer, this will be visible. RCM ensures the customer has the information they need to improve their processes.
In the unlikely event that the container malfunctions and local technicians are not able fix it, RCM’s automatic notifications give the customer time to notify their affected customers and plan alternatives such as unloading the container at an earlier port for a discounted sale, the release pointed out.