- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags – allows asset owners to see ‘Where is my ULD’ in real-time with an increasing degree of accuracy.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – Performs the same function as BLE but using a different technology. IoT systems use the existing mobile phone networks to transmit data from tagged ULD to a central processor.
- Smart Phone Apps – Replacing the paper based ULD Control Receipt with an app-based data capture is now technically achievable. Replacing the 50-year-old paper based process with a digital capture and sign off greatly improves accuracy and timeliness.
Technology and Demurrage
These new developments in technology are making the possibility of an automated tracking and transfer platform more realistic. However, the elements fundamental to an effective demurrage system in air cargo have always existed. The application of that system is where the industry has fallen short and, at this point, technology may not solve the issue if the asset owners do not enforce demurrage rules.
Any technological solution also comes with some important considerations:
- The cost to develop and implement the technology must be feasible
- The technology must be easily integrated into existing industry practices
Nobody likes to pay a fine or a penalty, but this can be made far less painful with the intelligent application of technology. For airlines to enjoy these benefits requires that:
- There be an industry level acceptance that demurrage for ULD be a standard practise.
- That a single common platform be established to process ULD transfer transactions, avoiding a multiplicity of airline-by-airline approaches, offering transparency to shippers and delivering a pain-free process for all involved.