What are the benefits of using tracking devices in a shipment?
The main advantage of using a GPS device in a shipment is to monitor not just its location, but also the condition of any shipment. This is particularly useful for pharmaceutical industries, but also any shipment where quality is something to be conscious of. The devices measure temperature, location, humidity, shock and light exposure – all factors that might affect the quality of a shipment. It’s just another set of ‘eyes’ that ensures everything goes to plan during the journey. At the moment, tracking devices can travel on a range of IAG Cargo products including Critical, Prioritise, Constant Climate and Secure.
Besides pharma, which industries especially might benefit from the devices?
I’ve seen some customers using devices to monitor food stuffs like meat to check the temperature remains consistent throughout the journey. For time critical shipments location becomes important if a delivery needs to be in a certain place at a certain time. There are so many niche areas where customers have used them… one of the most curious was in shipments of bobble heads – toys given away at sports games in the US. They’re manufactured specifically for certain events, so if they don’t get there in time, they’re useless. If it’s a high value shipment like artwork, gold, or jewellery, devices are also often used for security, and in some cases they can help to reduce a customer’s insurance premium by up to 15 per cent.
How does a device monitor the quality of something like… artwork?
When a painting is in its packaging, devices monitor the condition factors that might affect the shipment’s quality such as shock or light exposure. Light exposure would be an indication that someone’s opened the packaging perhaps before it should be…
How does the technology actually work?
A tracking device works in the same way as a mobile phone. It has a sim card, you pay a monthly subscription and it will connect to mobile networks around the world. If a device has a sim card with a certain provider, that provider will have agreements with international mobile network providers to offer roaming services, so it can roam freely and submit data through its GPS signal. To monitor its external factors, the device will have a variety of sensors on its exterior.
What are some of the top brands of tracking devices?
There are quite a few brands on the market but we’ve approved three for use in our shipments: the OnAsset Sentry 500; the 7P Solutions GD100 Tracker; and the Sendum PT300D. We’ve approved these three because we’ve rigorously tested them on the aircraft and we know that they’re safe and work well. We’re still approving more, and if one brand is in high demand we’ll look to approve it as quickly as possible.
How do you use or declare a tracking device?
Let your sales agent know you’re using a tracking device, or if you’re booking online, tick the ‘tracking device’ box. On your air waybill under Handling Information, list the device make, model and serial number, and include the tracking device checklist with your other documents. This declares that the device is fit for travel and that there are no signs of damage. You can download this online from our Tracking Device page.