Two intra-Asia shipping lines have taken the bold step to upgrade their entire container fleet to smart containers. These state of the art boxes can be tracked by GPS offering customers a new level of service.
The move comes at an important time for the industry, which is growing aggressively.
One of the lines involved, SITC Shipping Group, have said that this move is necessary in order to give customers a reason to use them over the many other container lines battling for business. The same reasoning was put forward by the general manager of Hai Hua, the other line on board who said that as soon as it became viable and affordable it was prudent to improve their fleet by introducing the smart containers.
While this will come as great news to the worrying importer, worries of theft, damage and the general cost of technology has discouraged many of the big name shipping lines to invest in the technology.
None the less, the two Asian lines that have taken to the idea have set plans to replace their entire fleet which totals well over 2.5million TEU with these smart containers.
The containers will offer their customers peace of mind when importing. In addition to providing the location of the container, intruder sensors will let them know if the container is opened at any time in the transit. This will put the shipping lines who adopt this technology in a strong position to lap up the business from first time importers, as demand for imported goods increases.
The big question is of course the price. According to the chiefs at SITC and SIPG the service will be offered to customers at a ‘low additional cost’ and will update customers via SMS to their mobile telephones.
It’s a great piece of new technology but how long will it be until customers importing cargo from Asia to the UK have access to this? Not very long it would seem!
CMA CGM, the worlds third largest container line are now set to improve part of their fleet with this new technology. The move is expected to come later on in 2015 and will clearly give CMA CGM a favorable position European first time importers, buying their goods in Asia. They are the first Asia – Europe box line to get involved with the new intitiative and will make importing cargo via sea freight a lot less daunting for only a slight expense.