Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cargo tracking adoption to rocket by 2020, says Berg

Steve Rogerson
December 6, 2016
The installed base of active cargo tracking units will reach 8.1 million by 2020, according to Swedish analyst company Berg Insight.
The number of active tracking devices deployed for cargo loading units including trailers, intermodal containers, air cargo containers, cargo boxes and pallets reached 2.9 million worldwide in 2015. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2 per cent, this number is expected to reach 8.1 million by 2020.
The North American trailer telematics market is the most developed segment, followed by intermodal container tracking which has achieved considerable growth in the past years.
Orbcomm is ranked as the largest vendor of tracking systems for cargo loading units, having a significant installed base of trailers as well as containers. The company has been highly involved in M&A activity related to real-time asset tracking, including acquisitions such as Euroscan and Wan Technologies. The latter was involved as a subcontractor in AT&T’s major project for Maersk which has rolled out a system for real-time tracking of its entire fleet of 270,000 refrigerated containers.
The North American trailer telematics market is dominated by Orbcomm, SkyBitz, Omnitracs, Spireon and ID Systems, while leading Europe-based players include Idem Telematics, Blue Tree Systems, Schmitz Cargobull and Novacom. Notable providers moreover include FreightWatch and Numerex, having the lion’s share of their installed bases in the general cargo and container tracking segments, respectively.
Other major players in the container tracking space include Envotech and Savi Technology, while major vendors in the segment of air freight cargo tracking include OnAsset Intelligence and Sendum Wireless.
Market adoption in the medium term is being affected by a number of factors.
“Battery life is a challenge especially for container tracking applications and breakthroughs within battery technology can help drive adoption on the market,” said Rickard Andersson, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
He said that the emerging area of low-power wide-area (LPWA) network technologies such as Sigfox, NB-IoT and LoRaWan could have a positive effect on this market segment.
“LPWA technologies’ promise of long battery life and low hardware cost can be especially beneficial for dry containers which are inherently more power-starved compared with reefer containers and trailers, at the same time the business case for tracking is less obvious than for refrigerated transports,” he said.