Cargo Container Tracking – Improving the Supply Chain

Photo of author

( — December 17, 2019) — The topics of Big Data and IoT technologies are ever-evolving. Supply chain professionals utilize both to improve the efficiency of supply chains.

Why Cargo Container Tracking Is Useful

The increase of devices with internet access provides all industries with new ways to improve efficiency. Supply chain management is more accessible because of access to physical devices joined with IoT.

Cargo container tracking uses a multitude of sensors. The equipment gathers data that establishes trends and patterns. Big Dataanalyzes the massive amount of information that sensors provide, while IoT generates the information.

The ability to track cargo using sensors is a growing fail-safe to avoid damaged or stolen inventory.

Smart Containers

Communication with cargo containers creates a challenge because they are steel and stacked atop one another for storage.

Container sensors detect, monitor, and report:

  • Door sensors detect when doors open and close
  • Sensors monitor humidity and light to report damage to the contents
  • Location sensors track containers’ exact location
  • Acoustic sensors detect and report motion or theft

Monitoring also assists ports in better planning for shipments, storage, and distribution.

Intermodal Containers

Consider that there are well over twenty million cargo containers moving right now. The regulation size and shape gives them the ease of transferring between planes, trains, and trucks.

The expanding global supply chain is about efficiency. Tracking containers’ condition and location lead to less loss and more profit.

GIS Technology

Demand for a streamlined global supply chain requires transparency. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology integrates data and analyzes it for information to build better performing supply chains and networks.

The information gathered provides companies with information about the current location of assets, to and from where they traveled, and any compromising situation the containers faced.


Locks created by IoT device manufacturers act as sensors that provide information about who triggers a lock on a container and when it occurs. It also allows for personalization, including blocking access.


Priceless information, such as mapping, tracking, locating, and geographical data, is part of the real-time analytics that cargo tracking provides. Visibility is also part of the tracking process.

The integrity and quality of the cargo are as vital as knowing where it is on a map. The data reduces supply chain cost, improves efficiency, and mitigates risk.

Part of the Supply Chain — Ports

Ports utilize sensors, too. They monitor water, air quality, and infrastructure. The data collected optimizes ports and offers safer and faster services.

In some cases, automation of port operations is possible by using sensor data. It streamlines the processing of containers.

Most of all, cargo container tracking allows for 24/7 monitoring and information gathering by both companies and ports. The dual force of effectiveness improves supply chains overall.