C. Steinweg Süd-West Terminal © C. Steinweg

Hamburg’s Steinweg (Sud-West) Terminal has introduced an automated reefer monitoring system; a land-based project that in part mirrors the attempts of shipping lines to introduce remote container monitoring across their fleets.

Ambitions for global coverage of reefer monitoring were pioneered by Maersk Line, while some of its competitors, notably CMA CGM as well as regional carriers working in niche trades, have similar projects under way.

However, the technology is also increasingly available to ports and terminals from an increasing variety of providers, and Steinweg has now completed deployment of the reefer part of the Container Terminal Automation System (CTAS) from Identec Solutions, adding to a growing list of terminals that have installed the system.

Since the beginning of the year, a monitoring tag has been attached magnetically to every incoming reefer container at Steinweg, with an automatic link with the container’s controller and records, notifies and processes all data fully automatically.

© C. Steinweg

The tag notifies relevant reefer data every 15 minutes by radio signal and, if it discovers any discrepancies, an automatic alarm is generated. This means that reefer containers will no longer have to be manually checked – previously at four- to eight-hour intervals by terminal staff who would monitor temperature, humidity and other factors.

CTAS Reefer is also linked with Steinweg’s terminal operating system integrating all reefer container processes, while all data is archived in the event of enquiries or insurance cases.

When the box exits the terminal, the tag is removed and used on another.

Last year Steinweg saw a growing number of export reefer boxes moving over its quays.

“We therefore gave special attention to how to organise an optimal service for reefer containers,” said managing director Rainer Fabian.

“Automated high-frequency data collection enables us to guarantee maximum safety and security for sensitive reefer cargo. Instead of going unnoticed, defective reefer aggregates or discontinuation of power supply are quickly reported and can be rectified immediately. Our trained, expert staff look after handling, connection and settings of reefer containers.”

© C. Steinweg

Identec’s global vice president of sales in the ports and terminals sector, Stephan Piworus, said: “Use of the CTAS Reefer facilitates substantial reduction of labour-intensive, manual checking and documentation input.

“Multiple data input is unnecessary, virtually eliminating any risk of errors in data recording. Steinweg not only has an uninterrupted record of the state of a reefer for the duration of its stay at the terminal, but with the box being checked every 15 minutes, also boosts both safety and customer satisfaction.”

Terminals in the Netherlands, the US, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Argentina, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Colombia have the CTAS Reefer system in operation.

“CTAS Reefer is compatible with all current models from manufacturers such as Daikin, Carrier, Starcool or Thermoking. Unlike the usual power-line modem solutions, this is completely independent,” Mr Piworus added.

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