Launched at Intermodal Europe in Rotterdam this week, VesselConnect is a GSM-based tracking system to monitor and control refrigerated containers onboard vessels. WAM is emphasising that GSM can be leveraged to deliver a “low-infrastructure, cost-effective alternative to older power line modem (PLM) technology for remote reefer monitoring, which requires ships to be fitted with cables and other control hardware”.
VesselConnect brings together WAM’s expertise in reefer controller integration with GPS/GSM-enabled modems for position location and communications to deliver end to end supply chain visibility. By installing equipment to create a GSM wireless local data transport network on the ship, reefer (and dry) containers fitted with GPS/GSM modems can continue to report while the vessel is on the water. The system automatically initiates after passing out of reach of terrestrial GSM networks, such as those at the port terminal.
Reefer data is captured by the VesselConnect application software, running on a server installed on the vessel.The status of all reefer containers is reported every 15 minutes to an hour, and alarms are displayed immediately.
VesselConnect also runs in the cloud, and data can be uploaded using the vessel’s satellite system for backhaul. This enables any authorised user, on land or the vessel, to remotely adjust reefer set points, as well as to conduct pre-trip inspections (PTIs). “The system also provides the precise temperature monitoring and records needed to perform cold treatment, a process required by the USDA and other food regulation agencies to prevent insect infestations in certain fruit” WAM added.
As well as having crew efficiency and safety benefits, remote monitoring enables information to be relayed back to shore based personnel on exceptions (reefers with problems) so they can prepare to act when the vessel arrives.
“As shipping lines move to the increased use of GPS/GSM-enabled containers, they need to fill the traceability gap on vessels at sea,” said Michael Dempsey, Vice-President Sales and Marketing at WAM Technologies. “With VesselConnect, shipping lines now have a clear path forward to achieve end-to-end visibility of their reefer activities, driving reduced cargo damage and operating costs.”