container tracking

With the rapid rise in the use of container tracking devices, the cargo insurance industry is increasingly concerned over the question of data ownership.

Shipping consultant Drewry said there would be almost nine million boxes fitted with tracking and telemetry equipment by 2026, with Hapag-Lloyd’s decision to fit trackers to its fleet of dry boxes likely to initiate a scramble among container lines to implement similar systems.

However, Mike Yarwood, loss prevention MD at insurer TT Club, told The Loadstar: “I’ve yet to get a satisfactory answer to the question of who owns the data, and there is, of course, a utopian idea where the data is available for everyone who needs it.

“The great benefit for the shipper and the consignee is where the delivery is and where it is being held up, and that gives them the ability to plan better.

“On the insurance side, access to that data would be valuable – potentially identifying where, when and how in the supply chain an incident occurs,” he added.

And, Mr Yarwood said, tracking devices could provide “very compelling evidence as to who the rival parties are and who you can recover from,” in the aftermath of an incident.

However, he asked: “Would one divulge that information if it wasn’t supporting your defence?”

In this respect, container lines are liable to benefit from ownership of the data generated from their containers. But the same could also be said of the IoT device manufacturers, which are bypassing the container lines by placing tracking devices on individual pallets.

“We are tracking more and more shipments at the pallet and box level than any other year,” Jim Waters, CMO of IoT tracking device manufacturer Tive, told The Loadstar.

“We anticipate demand will grow exponentially for this type of tracking… definitely an increase in the demand for real-time visibility at the box and pallet level.”

However, Mr Waters insisted there was no ‘race’ between container lines and IoT providers, “…visibility means different things to different people… location… condition… was there a shock event, did someone open a container”, he said.

“Since data for a container alone differs from other types of data, there is less of a race to secure that… more a movement toward combining different data sets to work together on a single platform.

“Tive owns all the data created by our IoT Solo 5G devices. Tive customers ‘own’ the data they may input into our application, which can range from origin addresses, destinations and product SKUs, etc,” he said.

And he claimed his company saw no benefit in withholding data from any party.

“The data exists to help customers, shippers, 3PL/4PLs and LSPs ensure shipments arrive on time and in full. We have never restricted access to data… we have not seen a situation where such an action would be applicable,” he said.

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