Export/Import Updates!
September 15, 2022

Global Smart Shipping Fleet to Rise by 25 Per cent in 2026

In a significant development for the shipping industry, known for its slow pace of digital adoption, 175-year-old Hapag – Lloyd may be spearheading a journey to modernity by resolving to smarten up all its containers in the future. Offering the features of real-time track and trace, Drewry has forecast that the global smart fleet will rise by 25 per cent or 8.7 million units by 2026. Let us read on to know more.

In a sign of forthcoming times, the global telematics equipped container fleet is expected to rise eight-fold in the next five years. Amid wider adoption, Drewry’s latest Container Census & Leasing Annual Review and Forecast for 2022/2023 highlighted this matter recently. 

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic’s unexpected crippling disruptions, the importance of smart containers has risen exponentially. A container is termed smart when powered with a telematics device which offers real-time tracking and monitoring.

Smart containers enable cargo owners to know the location and status of their consignment for gaining better control of the supply chains.

Factors Driving Smart Fleet Growth

Continuing supply chain disruption and port congestion are some key reasons giving thrust for the need of improved cargo flows visibility and better container fleet management.

Meanwhile, many carriers are flooded with cash to invest and tap the opportunities arising from improved effectiveness of their operations through the deployment of smart containers.

According to Drewry’s estimates, 3.6 per cent of the global container equipment fleet had already been powered with smart technology by the end of 2021, including an adoption rate of 30 per cent through the current year.

Reefers and Intermodal Containers Lead

When it comes to the penetration of smart equipment, reefers and intermodal containers lead the pack whereas dry box containers are playing catch up. Higher penetration in reefers is understandable, considering the perishable nature and short life cycle of merchandise generally packed into them.

Drewry estimates that as much as a third of the maritime reefer container fleet has been smart enabled while over 40 per cent of intermodal containers have also achieved the same.

Hapag-Lloyd to Digitize All Boxes

In a move which can prompt peers to take up digitization, Hapag-Lloyd, a 175-year-old German shipping line, recently announced that it will digitize all its dry box fleet with smart devices.

The German carrier introduced real-time monitoring on its reefer container fleet back in 2019 with Internet of Things (IoT) product Hapag – Lloyd LIVE. Now, Hapag – Lloyd will fit newly developed smart devices on all its standard containers numbering up to 3 million TEU fleet.

Starting 2023, Hapag – Lloyd LIVE will be available on the German carrier’s standard containers, which will offer real-time track and trace data with full visibility of any container movement of the company on a global scale. These features offer the capabilities to detect delays early, alert customers automatically and initiate early counter actions to avoid unwanted outcomes.

Hapag – Lloyd’s chief operating officer Maximilian Rothkopf noted that the smart initiative by the carrier will be a game changer for the entire container shipping industry. As each container will fire data on a real time basis, the supply chain is expected to become efficient and transparent.

The smart devices will transmit location data based on the 24-satellite Global Positioning System (GPS), including measuring temperature and reporting any unexpected sudden shocks to a given container.

In the future, Hapag – Lloyd aims to add more features and sensors incorporating Bluetooth technology, including working with its customers to add features taking their feedback into account.

Olaf Habert, Director, Container Applications, Hapag – Lloyd said the shipping line has a vision to build the world’s smartest container fleet, offering valuable information to customers at the frequency they need.

He added that the most advanced companies for global scale IoT applications are aiding Hapag – Lloyd to power its entire fleet with smart technologies.

Smart Fleets to Eventually Pay

Earlier moves to incorporate smart solutions into fleet management were not successful as customers viewed the additional fees and lack of integration into carrier IoT service offerings as unnecessary costs.

As times change, digitizing container fleets will also empower carriers to offer enhanced cargo visibility to customers and attract them into longer contracts, which stands to help carriers ward off rising competition from alternative tracking solutions like removable devices and predictive analytical tools.

However, to achieve the multifarious benefits of smart fleets, shipping lines need to invest further to incorporate smart containers into their IoT systems and join forces with industry stakeholders for data sharing and other crucial capabilities. 

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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