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COA publishes “Guide to Container Tracking and Telematics Technology”

The Guide is a step towards standards that are expected to be published later this year.

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The Container Owners Association (COA), the international organisation representing the common interests of freight container owners, has published a “Guide to Container Tracking and Telematics Technology”, providing container operators, leasing companies and other relevant stakeholders with an overview of the technology issues that they might face, and the choices that are available to them.


This is the next step in the standards initiative for container telematics announced by the COA earlier this year. The main focus of the guide is definitions. “Commencing with a glossary of many of the different industry terms and acronyms that are frequently used, the Guidelines go on to provide a background of the way that the industry has developed over the past decade. The evolution from ‘wired’ to ‘wireless’ has provided great opportunities - but adds significant complexity, because of the wide range of communication technologies available, how they are used around the world in different countries and communication issues with containers on vessels,” the COA noted.


The Guidelines cover some of the issues in technology selection for dry and reefer container telemetry, but do not go as far as creating any standards for connectivity at this point. The final section does cover the development of a standard API (Application Programming Interface) to facilitate connectivity across hardware and data sharing, which the COA is working on now.


The COA is moving relatively quickly, but so is the market for reefer monitoring in particular. Some suppliers expect that by the end of this year all the top 10 container carriers will have made a decision on a reefer monitoring system.


The COA report said despite this complexity “there are existing solutions today from a range of Telematics suppliers which can provide real time data monitoring of all equipment and remote control of reefers. Given the wide variety of communication technologies that will need to be considered, operators of reefers will likely need to carefully consider the capabilities of products being offered by different Telematics suppliers to see which systems best meet their needs today and over the coming years. They should also consider what options conference and partner shipping lines are utilizing and whether alternative systems are also compatible”.


The COA “Guide to Container Tracking and Telematics Technology” is available to download from the COA website – click here:


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