Modern Container Tracking Systems and How They Work

There is no doubt that ships are one of the biggest modes of transporting goods from one place to another in a safe and timely manner. However, there is one fact that can’t be ignored – businesses have to experience the apprehensions associated with this type of shipping. Transporting your goods using a shipping container, it is almost confirmed that the shipper sits in confusion and doubt until the package is received successfully. But this was the problem with older shipping containers that didn’t have any reliable tracking mechanism. Today, with the help of modern container tracking systems, you can keep an eye on the exact location of your container all the time.

Container shipment tracking is the biggest necessity of businesses using container services. With the arrival of new technologies, tracking systems have become more robust and efficient. Companies are using them to the fullest to keep a track of their shipments and for notifying their customers as well. Let’s discuss how today’s container tracking works and how it can benefit your business!

What Are Modern Container Tracking Systems?

Tracking container shipment isn’t as complicated as it looks. The basic idea behind using the container tracking systems is to keep notified regarding the exact location of the ship. A good majority of cargo tracking is performed with the help of remote satellite systems that capture the satellite images of the shipping container in action from time to time. These images are then routed back to the base stations from where they are used to notify the shippers. This is what a modern container tracking system looks like.

Apart from tracking through satellite systems, container tracking is also carried out using GPS to GSM and short-range wireless tracking. Let’s discuss both procedures in brief.

Container Shipment Tracking Using GPS To GSM

Most container shipment tracking solutions that are available today use the GPS location of the ships that are sent through a satellite or cellular mechanism.

Here is how it works:

First, a tracking device is attached to the outer body of the shipping container. The two most popular GPS-powered devices are :

1. Magnetic Tracking Devices

These are fitted onto the side of the container, in the middle of structural ribs. These are not placed on the top because the containers are usually stacked, hence the tracking devices may get damaged.

2. Locking Mechanism For Sealing The Container

The locking mechanism also includes a small tracking device, which is mostly added by the shipper after the packages are loaded into the container.

Once the tracking device is fitted on a container, it senses the movements of the ship with the help of an accelerometer and gets a GPS fix. It then sends the exact location to the application provider, added to its backend and then sent to the customers.

Shorter Range Wireless Container Shipment Tracking Systems

Satellite or GPS tracking systems are widely used by a majority of shipping services. However, they tend to be slightly costly. Not all organizations can afford to use such systems due to their hefty prices and this is where short-range wireless tracking systems come into play. They are relatively affordable and offer a great tracking mechanism as well.

Here is how they work:

Shorter range wireless tracking systems are those in which the tracking device is not forced to communicate to the satellite or cellular, directly. Instead, they use wireless technologies like the Internet of Things for tracking the systems.

For example, if you want to track a group of containers being moved simultaneously, you can add a cellular transmitter to a few selected containers and program those transmitters to backhaul their data. The nearby devices then use a wireless or Bluetooth link to know the location of the container. This approach reduces the need for installing too many tracking devices and hence reduces the cost.

So, this was how modern container shipment tracking works efficiently.

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