In February 2023, Transforma Insights published a report, ‘Container Tracking: Real-time visibility and monitoring dominated by satellite connectivity’, which primarily focused on the current state and future prognosis of IoT-based tracking of refrigerated and dry freight containers along with the management of goods that are transported through them.
In this blog, we will not only focus on the objectives and benefits of container tracking but will also throw light on the technological advancement and the current regulatory norms that are shaping the market. Besides, the concluding part of the blog will focus on the scope and the future of the container tracking market.
It is imperative to ask if deploying container tracking systems is really necessary. Around 17 million shipping containers are currently used across the globe and at any point in time, almost 5 million containers are travelling via different sea routes. Unfortunately, among them, thousands of containers are lost every year which results in losses to the shipping and insurance companies.
In addition, the wastage of goods is another global issue which affects both the food and beverages segment and pharmaceutical products. The US Food and Agriculture Organisation claims that around 14% of all food, worth USD400 billion is wasted every year, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) asserts that more than 50% of vaccines are wasted due to poor temperature management and other transport-related issues.
Another pressing issue with which the industry is grappling is theft and pillage of valuable goods, resulting in a loss of around USD15-35 billion every year, which can be minimised using IoT devices.
To begin with, container tracking allows GPS-based tracking of location, assisting transportation businesses to optimise their logistic operations. Some tracking devices also allow transportation companies to monitor the condition of goods and products to maintain their quality. This not only saves perishable food items like vegetables, fruits and milk, but also crucial drugs and medicines that require a minimum temperature while being shipped.
Additionally, some features also allow these devices to help users geofence a specific area to restrict the movement of goods in such locations. IoT devices can also save goods from being stolen by instantly notifying the on-site personnel about any intrusion in trailers or ships. Besides, increasing adaptation of certain Track & Trace solutions such as sensors attached to pallets or boxes has improved the chances of stolen goods being recovered.
Since to function properly, container trackers require uninterrupted connectivity, the key players in the market are leveraging various modes of connectivity including LPWA, cellular, and satellite communication (for highly valued refrigerated goods). While satellite communication allows containers to remain connected in places where cellular and LPWA networks become unstable, cellular and satellite network technologies are currently at the forefront, owing to their overall consistency and reliability. Within LPWA, 5G mMTC and LoRaWAN will gain prominence as they can ensure uninterrupted network for a longer time . In the context of satellite IoT connectivity, LEO has more significance due to low latency in comparison to GEO and MEO. For more information on LEO, please read these Transforma Insights reports:
Recently, the regulatory push to monitor pharmaceutical and food items has increased significantly, which will also add impetus to the container tracking market. For instance, the EU established GDP (Good Distribution Practice) to safely transport pharmaceutical goods. Besides, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has also levied certain norms regarding the transportation of perishable foodstuffs.
As of 2022, there were 5 million container tracking devices in use and this number will grow at 14% CAGR through 2032, owing to the rising demand for container tracking in Southeast Asia and Europe . It is also estimated that by 2032, there will be 17.9 million container tracking devices. To cater to the steadily rising demand for such devices, leading organisations across the globe such as Orbcomm, Samsara and SkyBitz are rapidly expanding their existing portfolios and entering into valuable mergers and acquisitions to strengthen their position in the container tracking market.