We receive lot of phone calls and emails enquiring about the benefits of using a RFID + GPS + GPRS/Wi-Fi based container tracking solution in CFS and ICD’s. There is a very clear cut answer to this question i.e. this is a fully automated solution which updates the location of container in real time with an accuracy of +-1 container block in a yard. This system not only tells you the row, column and stack/level the container is on, but also is supplemented with the map view of the block(or blocks – if there are multiple blocks ) with an arrow pointing to the location of the container, which helps the operator/truck driver/helper/supervisor in locating the container in few minutes. The ROI on this is also very clear; it reduces bottlenecks in finding the container, thus reducing truck congestion and improves operational efficiency of the CFS resulting in increased container handling capacity leading to increased revenue.
The natural question that comes to mind is why is this solution better than traditional solution of manually updating location of containers as they are moved by the RTG/RMG/Reach Stacker using VMT/HHT? The answer lies in the question itself, i.e. this particular process is “Manual” and this process lacks all the advantages that any other manual process would lack. It needs a human to update the movements which is time consuming. If it’s a RTG or a RMG which is moving the container, then the operator of the machine himself has to update the container movement using a VMT, which is both time consuming and error prone – Error prone because operator has to read the number of the container, type in the number in the system and then finally after placing the container key in the location. It already sounds error prone, especially when you think of the education levels of these operators. (I know they can be trained, but trained minds cannot be compared to educate ones and above all cannot be prepared to handle system failure situations)). If a supervisor or operator helper is tasked to perform the same task, he not only has to follow operator all the time but also work in rain and hot sunny days.
In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that any system will have its advantages and disadvantages and trick lies in choosing the right technology and subsequently the right system for the given requirements