Efforts to improve supply chain visibility are ongoing among freight transportation stakeholders. Here are two initiatives announced in July:

Nexxiot and TransRail Innovation Group to roll out railcar locator technology in North America

Zurich, Switzerland-based Nexxiot and Calgary, Alberta-based TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) are scheduled to roll out to North American companies in July a technological tool that integrates TRIG’s proprietary rail cargo sensors into Nexxiot’s modular hardware and cloud data network

Nexxiot is a supply chain data analytics firm and TRIG produces technology hardware for rail freight operators.

The partnership will utilize technologies developed by both companies to provide the location, time stamp and asset and cargo status of railcars, especially rail tank cars. TRIG specializes in developing technologies for the hazardous liquids transportation industry. 

TRIG’s digital sensors track a variety of information, such as evaluating hazardous liquids in real time, monitoring whether railcar hand brakes are on and assessing whether doors, hatches and manways are open. This data is sent via wireless communications to the Nexxiot cloud, where it is cleaned and processed by powerful algorithms to create business value for operators and cargo owners, TRIG and Nexxiot said in a July 13 press release. Different stakeholders can extract the information they need from the Nexxiot Intelligent IoT Cloud Platform. 

“The rail industry in North America is currently using 40-year-old technology to monitor the location of rail cars, and fewer than 0.2% of those cars have sensors to monitor their current condition and status,” TRIG President and CEO Rob Tasker said. “The collaboration between Nexxiot and TRIG is enabling a monumental change in the industry to improve safety, supply chain efficiency and sustainability.”

By providing stakeholders with more visibility into where their railcars and tank cars are located, companies are able to improve the efficiency of their operations by enabling more cargo with the same number of assets, as well as improve the safety standards for workers and the general public, the two companies said. TRIG noted that it received significant funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, while Nexxiot received an IoT climate award for its efforts.

“The IoT and big data ecosystem for cargo relies on the sharing of ideas and data to maximize business impact and success,” said Nexxiot CEO Stefan Kalmund. “Our partnership with TRIG will help advance the much-needed digitization of the North American rail fleet and enable our customers to deliver freight safely, securely, on time and at optimum quality, which is vital to keep cargo owners, shippers and their customers on time and on budget.”

Related links:

Commentary: High-tech railcar/inventory management

Nexxiot, Unilode partner to digitize air cargo

Port of Los Angeles launches Horizon forecasting tool

A forecasting tool aimed at providing cargo owners, terminal operators, truckers and other supply chain stakeholders into cargo visibility six months into the future is now available at the Port of Los Angeles.

The tool uses predictive technology and aims to track the movement of containers, including imports, exports and empties, at the port and up to six months in advance. The port developed the tool with Wabtec (NYSE: WAB). The technology uses an algorithm to analyze historical and trending volume data collected by the Port Optimizer, a tool the port created in 2017 to provide supply chain visibility.

Horizon’s algorithm also includes updated cargo volumes in its analysis, enabling the technology to provide an updated six-month-ahead volume forecast monthly.

“We’re proud to break ground with this new forecasting tool, which is the first of its kind,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The Horizon predictive technology is yet another service that we can offer port stakeholders to better plan and allocate resources, especially amid this historic cargo surge.”

Nalin Jain, Wabtec’s president of digital electronics, said, “Data is a critical resource in moving goods across the supply chain and into the hands of consumers. This is one more step in our journey to connect railroads, chassis providers, truckers, warehouse operators and others across the supply chain with the insights they need to seamlessly move cargo in and out of ports.”

The port’s other offerings to stakeholders include the Control Tower, a virtual dashboard launched in February aimed at providing visibility of cargo flows and truck capacity; the Signal, a tool that gives a three-week look at incoming cargo; and the Return signal, which allows trucks to know when and where to return empty containers to port cargo terminals.    

Related links:

Commentary: Cloud-based tool has been supply chain breakthrough

Port of LA launches Return Signal for trucking to address congestion

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