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11/16/2015 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

‘Where’s My Freight?’

Tracking Loads From Origin to Destination Increases Visibility, Customer Service

C.H. Robinson

This story appears in the Nov. 16 print edition of iTECH, a special supplement to Transport Topics.

Today’s tracking technology allows users to monitor the movement of goods from the time they leave the manufacturer to the final unloading, eliminating black holes that once existed within the system, particularly within the handoff points as loads changed hands. As a result, carriers are able to improve customer service, minimize delays, better utilize assets and enhance security. The ability to track loads also opens up new opportunities for carriers as more shippers require up-to-date information on a load’s location.

“Everybody wants to know everything right now. The glory of technology and tracking is that you get that option,” said Shawn Zerges, director of information technology for SNL Distribution Services Corp., based in Birmingham, Alabama.

TRAILER TRACKING: Helps carriers manage regulatory requirements

All parties along the supply chain want eyes on a shipment, and more companies are demanding transparency from their business partners, said Glynn Spangenberg, a senior vice president for MacroPoint, a tracking technology provider based in Independence, Ohio. “If you have tracking, you have the ability to haul Amazon freight because Amazon has a very strict requirement for where that load is,” he said.

What’s more, users want one-stop shopping when it comes to how they view their information, said Ken Weinberg, executive vice president of Carrier Logistics Inc., based in Tarrytown, New York. As a result, technology providers are pulling in data from many sources to provide the final information a customer sees.

Weinberg said Carrier Logistics is “hardware agnostic” and can pull data from many devices. “As long as they can send us a status message, we are able to take it into our application and disseminate it to the users,” he said, adding that information can be transmitted via cellular or satellite communications or underground cable from the Orient. “A status message from a ship would come as a satellite communication sent to a base station, then we could take it to our application and update the status of it within our system and communicate it,” he said.

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By Mindy Long
Contributing Writer

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