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The Increase of Smart Containers

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

The smart container market will increase its share globally these years.

Drewry predicts in the Census and Container Leasing Annual Review and Forecast 2022/23 that the pace of smart container adoption will accelerate in the coming years, after the pandemic prioritized the need for better cargo visibility to make against longer and more volatile transit times. A smart container is equipped with a telematics device that provides real-time tracking and monitoring of merchandise, which improves equipment availability, as well as allowing owners to know the location and status of their cargo so they can better control their supply chains.

The factors driving the growth of this technology are ongoing supply chain disruption and port congestion, increasing the need for improved visibility of cargo flows and container fleet management. On the other hand, carriers are willing to invest and see opportunities to improve the efficiency of their operations through the use of technology such as smart containers. Drewry estimates that the number of smart containers in the global fleet will accelerate in the coming years to 2026 to reach more than 8.7 million units, representing up to 25% of box inventories worldwide.

By the end of 2021, around 3.6% of the global container equipment fleet was equipped with smart technology devices, following a growth of more than 30% during the year and up to a third of the maritime reefer container fleet is smart technology enabled. Intelligently, while the figure exceeds 40% for intermodal containers, according to Drewry's estimates.

The digitization of their container fleets will allow carriers to better control the information flows of the maritime supply chain, improving their cargo visibility offer and thus linking cargo beneficiary customers to longer-term contractual commitments.

Achieving this will require further investment to integrate smart containers into carriers' IoT systems and collaboration among industry stakeholders to enable data sharing, particularly between carrier alliance and partners.

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