Wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions provider WAM Technologies in November released VesselConnect, a global system for mobile communication (GSM) tracker to monitor and control refrigerated containers on board container ships.
The new system was launched at the Intermodal Europe trade show, which took place in Rotterdam, from November 11 to 13, 2014.
As the latest addition to the company’s M2Connect suite of wireless telematics and cloud-based asset tracking solutions, VesselConnect offers 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. The launch of the new application means that, for the first time, global positioning system- (GPS-) or GSM-enabled reefer containers and other assets can now be seamlessly tracked from end to end along the supply chain, with visibility across road, rail, water and intermodal connections.
The VesselConnect system uses on-board GSM infrastructure to create a wireless local data transport network on the ship, enabling reefer and other containers fitted with GPS/GSM modem devices to continue to report while the vessel is on the water. The system automatically initiates the moment it is out of the reach of terrestrial GSM networks, such as those at the port terminal. VesselConnect can be installed in less than a day, so, unlike PLM systems, there is no need for ships to spend long periods laid up while the hardware is fitted. VesselConnect works on multiple ship types, including container liners, barges, roll-on/roll-off containers and roll-on/roll-off ships.
Data from reefer containers fitted with GSM modems is captured by the VesselConnect application software, which runs on a server installed on the vessel. A real-time display shows the status and location of all reefer containers, which reports every 15 minutes to an hour, depending on user requirements. Alarms are displayed immediately on the VesselConnect monitor, enabling prompt action to be taken by crew. As the software runs in the cloud, information can also be viewed remotely on any Internet-connected device and not just on the vessel itself.
VesselConnect allows for authorised users – on the vessel or elsewhere – to remotely adjust reefer set points, as well as conduct pretrip inspections on board, reducing the amount of time needed for equipment preparation on the landside. The system also provides the precise temperature monitoring and records needed to perform cold treatment, a process required by the US Department of Agriculture and other food regulation agencies to prevent insect infestations in certain fruit.
A key benefit of VesselConnect is enhanced crew efficiency and safety, as the system eliminates the need to manually check the status and condition of reefer containers. If an alarm sounds, it will be automatically displayed on the VesselConnect console and an engineer can be sent to check on it and resolve any issues. As the system identifies any nonperforming equipment, shore-based staff can also be alerted in advance that repairs need to be undertaken, allowing for parts and repair staff to be prepared before a vessel arrives at the port. As an additional benefit, the GSM network may also be used to enable crew cellphone calls and text messaging.
“As shipping lines move to the increased use of GPS/GSM-enabled containers, they need to fill the traceability gap on vessels at sea. 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 operat-ing costs,” concludes WAM Technologies sales and mar-keting VP Michael Dempsey.
About WAM Technologies
WAM Technologies helps companies manage transport assets on the move with powerful M2M connectivity solutions, which enable remote global tracking, monitoring and control of refrigerated, intermodal and other ground transportation assets.
The company’s M2Connect platform pairs advanced transport telematics with on-demand cloud software to give international and domestic users real-time insight into the status of their equipment fleets, driving better asset use, less cargo damage and lower operating costs. WAM has particular expertise in end-to-end cold chain transport asset management, containers, trailers and generator sets.
Beyond technology, WAM is partnered with one of the world’s most experienced refrigerated transport monitoring and inspection service providers, tracking 900 000 loaded reefer containers, generator sets and trailers every year across ports and intermodal networks.