Michael Dempsey

Vice President, Container and Port Solutions


Session: How new technologies are having an impact on the container supply chain


As blockchain technologies come to maturity, what has been the single biggest impact on the supply chain?

While most people may only have heard of blockchain in the context of cryptocurrencies, the technology could also transform the freight and supply chain industries. Integrated shared ledger technology in the supply chain will support logistics management, asset tracking and transaction processing while ensuring data integrity and security. The marriage of industrial IoT-enabled smart containers with associated technology developments such as blockchain could enable a much more accurate, secure and transparent flow of trade, improving financial and regulatory compliance.

From IoT and big data to remote monitoring and tracking, name the top technologies that you predict will have a long lasting impact on the sector and tell us why this is so.

Real-time analytics solutions depend on the IoT for gathering the data they require. In the beginning, IoT was all about providing real-time visibility of devices and equipment that would otherwise be dumb, dark and disconnected. Enhanced visibility of operations enabled managers to identify problems as they occurred to quickly deploy corrective measures, automate processes to minimize spending and human error, and optimize asset utilization to drive up profitability. The nature of the information, however, was mainly transactional or reactive, and analytics were only applied to a small portion of the available data.

Today, analytics process large amounts of live and historical data collected by IoT technology, making it possible for business not only to identify the current status of operations, but to predict what can go wrong in the future and identify which processes may break down in order to plan ahead. The ability to mitigate potential issues before they occur is already having an enormous impact on how business operate and driving a significant return on investment. Analytics has a huge potential for transportation and the supply chain.

In the case of truckload carriers, for instance, refrigerated trailers deteriorate and fail over time. By running analytics on a refrigerated trailer’s data, for instance, using gallons of fuel per engine hour as a reference, carriers can anticipate when equipment may fail and plan for the maintenance or replacement of the unit before it breaks down while carrying a load, impairing the company’s profitability. Additionally, data analysis allows carriers to evaluate how different types of refrigeration units operate under different conditions, helping them make more informed and efficient buying decisions.

Why do you think events such as Intermodal Europe are important for the industry?

Major events such as Intermodal Europe bring together the biggest names and minds in the industry to present, discuss, and showcase the latest and greatest technologies. It fosters competition that benefits both the industry and, ultimately, the end customer.