Technology – Zim invests in tracking system for its container fleet

Ahead of its interim results on Wednesday, Zim today announced a $5.5m investment in a dry container tracking system it claims has “the potential to revolutionise” the industry.

The backing by the Israeli ocean carrier in the financing first round of compatriot Hoopo Systems takes its funding in supply chain management systems since June to a significant $16.5m, as it looks at positioning itself as a leading carrier of choice after freight rates are more normalised.

Zim’s support is intended to assist Hoopo to develop more technology for the maritime industry, “specifically for dry containers, including the use of solar energy to power tracking devices”.

The need to replace dead batteries on tracking devices attached to containers, which could be out of the maintenance and repair depot loop for months at a time, has been a concern for carriers that have considered tracking systems on their standard box fleets.

Hoopo says its tracking and monitoring solution is specifically designed for use on “unpowered assets”, using “power-efficient tracking technology suitable for any fleet size”.

CEO Ittay Hayut said: “This huge vote of confidence from new and existing investors, Hoopo’s technology and Zim’s experience and knowledge will allow us to transform dry containers into smart and digital fleets.”

Zim CEO Eli Glickman said the ability to improve supply chains had proved to be a critical competency. He added: “There are approximately 26 million dry containers worldwide and Hoopo’s cutting-edge tracking technology has the potential to revolutionise the way industry players track their movement, enabling further optimisation of container fleets.”

Hitherto, the barrier to the development of sustainable track and trace systems for the global dry container fleet was the cost, given the sometimes sub-economic FAK rates charged in the industry.

Demand from pharmaceutical, time-sensitive and high-value cargo was always there, but carriers were reluctant to roll out tracking systems across their entire fleets.

Hapag-Lloyd was the first to officially announce it was installing real-time tracking across its dry box fleet, at a cost of some $250m for its 1.6m boxes, and said this month the live product would become available to its customers early next year.

Nexxiot, which is providing tracking devices for Hapag-Lloyd, told The Loadstar  it expected the German carrier’s move to “start a race between shipping lines” for the “mass adoption” of tracking hardware.

However, some industry observers are more skeptical. One carrier executive told The Loadstar recently: “Firstly, the carriers are gambling that rates will stay high to fund the systems, and secondly, many of the lines have a high percentage of their container fleets on lease, so the industry will need the big leasing companies to get on board, otherwise I can’t see it working.”

Source : Loadstar