GPS Container Tracking: Overview & Opportunities - Geoforce

GPS Container Tracking: Overview and Opportunities

Can you afford to lose visibility of this cargo’s location? Losing visibility into critical assets can mean losing money, time, productivity, safety, sanity…

Shipping containers have evolved to become an indispensable solution for logistics involving the transportation of goods across all manner of terrain and weather conditions. Projections indicate that the growth of the global container shipping market will proceed at a compound annual growth rate of about 4% through 2027.

By 2027, the container shipping market will be worth over 12 billion USD. Currently, maritime shipping, which comprises about 90% of global trade, has more than 6000 ships that transport more than 20 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units globally. Such statistics translate into a need for optimization of container tracking logistics to make the most of current and forecasted market potential.

Dynamics of the ISO Container Market

The ISO container market remains dynamic, and several factors continue to influence its performance across the supply chain:

1. growth of the petrochemical industry

The ISO container market involves the sale of containers by individual traders, companies, and organizations that manufacture them. The manufacture of containers follows strict guidelines depending on the type of the container and the commodities to be transported in them.

The exponential growth of the petrochemical industry will propel the growth of the container market due to the increased demand for transportation by petrochemical industries.

2. Expansion of IoT

The application of the Internet of Things (IoT) into the ISO container market has enhanced remote monitoring of containers and further impacts trends in the ISO container field. The Internet of Things provides digital solutions to companies through use of mobile-enabled software and automated data transfer business ERP platforms. Such connectivity provides users an enhanced experience in freight management and end-to-end visibility in container tracking.

3. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, expectations were that the containerized market would take a hit as was happening in other industries globally. However, lockdown measures changed shopping trends and lead to a rise in demand for electronic commerce and manufactured consumer products. This demand caused increased business for container shipping due to increased demand for imports.

In late 2020, various economies across the world were recovering from the impact of the lockdowns. Accompanying stimulus packages increased consumer demand leading to increased trade flow for the container shipping industry and a proportional demand for shipping containers. The demands also led to trade imbalances and evolved new trade patterns. 

The lockdowns also caused operational lapses leading to delays and misplacement of containers and repositioning due to missed port calls. The consequent lapse in shipping container tracking led to a crisis caused by the gap between the supply and demand of containers.

The subsequent and unprecedented demand for containers, especially those required to transport goods from China to overseas destinations, led to a short supply of containers.

4. The Impact of delays (e.g., obstruction of the suez canal)

The Suez Canal supports 12% of the volume of global trade. The canal is the alternative route between Europe and Asia, without which the duration of a ship’s journey extends by more than a week. Thus, the economic implications of the Japanese ship, the Ever Given that was blown off course and wedged in the Suez Canal, were extensive.

The blockage of the canal impeded movement, which translated to astronomical freight charges even on other routes. The costs accrued from the delay and plying longer routes included inventory-holding costs, increased freight fees, and pressure on services due to increased service calls. The ripple effect showed the importance and reliance on container shipping.

Challenges of tracking ISO containers

Real-time GPS tracking for shipping containers is one way of mitigating supply chain and market changes. However, container tracking presents its own set of unique challenges:

  • Lack of visibility
    • Container shipments on long-distance deliveries go through several ports and truckers towards their destination. Such a process requires significant visibility throughout the shipment. Tracking fails if any party in the process breaks the chain.
  • Inadequate infrastructure
    • As bigger vessels and increased trade volumes hit shipment routes, some ports hamper the shipment process due to insufficient facilities and space to process shipments.
  • Delayed milestones in the delivery of cargo
    • Customer satisfaction lies not just in the safety of goods, but also in their timely or fast delivery. Delays arise when stakeholders fail to coordinate their roles in the delivery process. Delays increase during times of political and socio-economic crises and peak seasons.
  • Poor Communication
    • Too much reliance on freight forwarders and carriers often lead to a communication breakdown that hampers the flow of updates on the progress of the shipment process. It also creates suspicions of a lack of transparency over the handling of the container and its contents.

Optimizing ISO Container Tracking for Mitigation and Efficiency

Global supply chains face new and evolving challenges and demands. Advanced and real-time visibility and tracking solutions will take your container shipping procedures to the next level.

A shipping container GPS tracker that operates on satellite platforms can generate the real-time location of the shipping container at intervals.

These discreet cost-effective systems are rugged enough to survive any type of weather conditions, terrain, and handling. They can be used to create geofences and send alerts through integrated software systems when the container departs from the designated region. Through the Internet of Things, the tracking devices and related software provides a platform that brings visibility to all the players on the supply chain.

Optimizing ISO Container Tracking for Mitigation and Efficiency

From all indications, the lucrative container shipping industry will continue to provide profitable opportunities for optimization. Benefits await shippers who embrace digital solutions to enhance the efficiency and integrity of their logistics services.

When evaluating GPS container tracking solutions, the right GPS tracking solution will:

  • Improve security
    • The geofencing aspect and related notifications will alert you if the container leaves a geofenced site. Such measures reduce theft and damages, and they can assist in locating and retrieving stolen cargo.
  • Automate procedures to save time
    • GPS tracking technology may use cellular network or satellite connectivity to link with asset management software. Such syncing eliminates manual processes in inventory checks and monitoring. Asset management software can automatically create a visual presentation of all your cargo in one place, which saves time and increases the efficiency of business operations.
  • Increase revenue
    • Automating processes like inventory reporting will reduce administrative costs for your business. Such tracking provides accurate information on the location and status of cargo, which improves customer satisfaction and ETA predictability.

Qualities of the Best Shipping Container GPS Tracker Solutions

  • Robust battery-powered operation with a long battery life
  • Rugged for water-resistance and tamper-proof
  • Unlimited API options
  • Easy to use software interface
  • Customizable alerts
  • Real-time customer support

If you’d like to learn more about container tracking devices and how they may help improve your operations, contact Geoforce for more information.