Maersk Line has announced “Captain Peter”, a virtual assistant aimed at simplifying data management from its remote container management platform.
Maersk launched its Remote Container Management (RCM) system for reefer containers in 2017, which is based on a wireless modem installed on almost all of its fleet of 270,000 reefer containers. This was a massive undertaking in itself, but finding the right business model to manage and deliver reefer data to customers has been just as challenging.
Maersk Line has now announced it is taking a major step forward in this regard. “Currently being tested by a group of select customers, technical improvements are being put in place to simplify the processes integrated into the Remote Container Management (RCM) platform. In the first half of 2019, Maersk will release the new platform with a revamped design and new product features which will be enhanced by a virtual assistant named Captain Peter,” the carrier said in a statement.
“Our goal is for the RCM product to look and feel like your favourite smartphone app. There is still a lot of paper work and difficult processes in global trade. Captain Peter will help take care of some of this complexity, by seamlessly engaging with the customer from end to end in the supply chain,” said Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Head of Global Reefer Management at Maersk.
One of the major concerns about remote reefer monitoring is the potential for the data to be overwhelming. Big reefer shippers deal in thousands of reefers, and managing the data flowing from remote monitoring could quickly become unmanageable. The benefits, however, are huge, and remote managing has the potential to provide data to automate many of the processes and procedures around reefer shipping today.
Maersk Line has this firmly in mind, and is trying to nudge the industry to data driven management in small steps. “In the beginning, Captain Peter will follow some simple rules, sending up-to-date information via customers’ preferred channel, for example, SMS or e-mail, on container temperature and atmosphere conditions, as well as a timeline on its end-to-end journey. Should any deviations be observed, or the shipment be delayed, Captain Peter will notify the customer.
“Once the container has arrived at its destination, Captain Peter will also check on its state and send an update to the customer. In time, customers will receive information configured to their specific needs”.
Clarifying this further a Maersk Line spokesperson explained that customer will be in control of “how he or she wishes to be contacted and at what frequency”, with all notification parameters configurable. In addition, full data is available by logging into the platform at any stage.
Maersk Line was the first carrier to deploy a wireless remote reefer monitoring system, and it says its customers are now embracing the service. Over 2,300 customers have signed up for its RCM solution, which represents more than 70% of Maersk’s reefer volume.
As well as monitoring cargo in transit and providing a full audit trail of a reefer’s operating parameters, Maersk is eyeing using the data from RCM to support predictive analytics and prognostics in reefer management. “With the number of active users of the RCM platform constantly growing, the aspiration is for Captain Peter to gather enough information to be able to predict potential cargo damage and provide configuration suggestions before containers are shipped,” concluded Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen.