How New Technologies Will Change Storage Containers Forever

24 Sep, 2018

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TradeLens is the production version of an electronic ledger for tracking global shipments, recently announced by IBM and Maersk. At the moment, there are 94 companies piloting the system, including over 20 port and terminal operators. (Related topics: portable storage containers in Chicago)

This system will change forever the shipping container and logistics industry as the newly developed electronic shipping ledger registers and tracks the details of cargo shipments as they leave their origin, arrive in ports, are shipped overseas and, eventually, received at their destination.


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During the transportation process, all of the parties involved in the supply chain can track the shipment arrival times and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading in near real-time via the permission blockchain ledger. To date, over 160 million shipping events have been recorded on the platform, and the data keeps growing, which will ensure predictive analytics can be implemented in the future. Although the international shipping industry’s information systems have used paper legal documents, electronic data was transmitted via electronic data interchange (EDI), a 60-year-old technology that doesn’t represent real-time data information.

TradeLens tracks critical data about every shipment in a supply chain. It offers a fixed record among all parties involved. Shipments can also be moved via an API to the TradeLens platform, to have manufacturers and others in the supply chain have more timely information and improved visibility.

Modern Terminals’ port operators won’t have to track shipments outside of TradeLens operating environment but it keeps the status of containers coming in and out of its terminals through a Terminal Operating System (TOS), many of which utilize EDI and wireless LANs and Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to monitor cargo movements. This means that storage containers should be able to incorporate this technology.

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