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3/18/2016 4:08:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Beyond Trailer Tracking

Sensors Add Detailed Load Information to Location Data

Sal Verazzi, operations manager at Pan American Express, checks trailer and cargo data captured by its tracking systems from Spireon. (Pan American Express Inc.)


This story appears in the March 14 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Pinpointing a trailer’s geographic location is no longer enough for fleets focused on improving equipment utilization and supply chain visibility.

Today, carriers are deploying a variety of onboard sensors that can tell them if a trailer is loaded or empty, when its doors open, the temperature of its cargo or if a pallet moves.

“At one time we delivered dots on a map, and that was cutting edge. Now it is much beyond that,” said Henry Popplewell, president of tracking technology supplier SkyBitz. “Sensors combined with the location capability give you a smart trailer that provides data from lots of different points.”

BEST OF MARCH iTECH: More stories, columns

Guy Welton, vice president of operations for Werner Enterprises, said companies that aren’t monitoring their trailers are at a disadvantage.

“You don’t know where the trailer is at or the status of the trailer,” he said. “Without tracking you’re relying very heavily on your driver and your customers to tell you where your trailer is and what the status is.”

Werner, which uses technology from Spireon, has installed trailer tracking and cargo sensors on 8,500 trailers, about 35% of its trailer fleet, and plans to expand that deployment to nearly all of its trailers by the end of 2017, Welton said.

Utilizing sensors is becoming the new norm for adopters of trailer technology, suppliers said.

About 60% to 70% of Spireon’s customers have adopted cargo sensors, a dramatic increase from just a year ago, said Roni Taylor, the company’s vice president of industry relations.

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By Mindy Long
Contributing Writer

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