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Partners To offer Air Cargo Tracking

Envirotainer and Savi Technology will develop a real-time asset tracking and security system for the air cargo industry.
Oct 30, 2002Oct. 30, 2002 - Visibility continues to be a major issue for businesses worldwide. It's not just visibility into what's in the warehouse or distribution center, but also what's in transit and where. Envirotainer of Knivsta, Sweden, has teamed up with Savi Technology of Sunnyvale, Calif., to develop a real-time asset tracking and security system for the air cargo industry.

Envirotainer is the world's largest provider of temperature-controlled air cargo containers, which are used to ship perishable goods and pharmaceuticals that need to be kept cold. The company leases aluminum unit load devices (ULD) -- standardized air cargo containers that can maintain temperatures between 20 degrees and minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Envirotainer had developed an online booking system and wanted to expand that to enable airlines, third-party logistic providers and shippers to track goods in transit. But didn't want to develop the technology itself, so Envirotainer put out a request for proposal.

It chose Savi because Savi's software platform and applications complemented its own, according to Bernhard Metzger, Envirotainer's executive VP of marketing, sales and partnerships.

"We could tie in our current system with their Asset Management System very neatly," he says. "Savi was committed to investing in enhancing their AMS for the air cargo carriers, and they were willing to do that in a partnership with us."

Envirotainer uses a global positioning system receiver attached to a cell phone modem that transmits the location of its unit load devices and the temperature inside them. Using Savi's SmartChain platform, the two companies can add other automatic data collection technologies, including bar codes, passive and active RFID, and electronic seals.

Savi's system aggregates the data from all devices using the Universal Data Appliance Protocol. Its AMS application lets companies track the movements and the security of containers, monitor the temperature history and review shipping patterns. And Savi's Supply Chain Logistics Portal makes all the information available on the Web, where anyone with authorization can access it.

"We see this as a longer-term evolution, as we add a whole series of different technologies and enhancements to this as we move ahead together," says Mark McGlade, Savi's managing director/UK and regional vice president. "We are starting off with the software, which enables Envirotainer to do online booking, tracking and optimization of assets with their customers through our logistics portal."

The partnership benefits both companies. Evirotainer has been supplying refrigerated containers to the airlines since 1984 and has extensive contacts within the industry. So Savi, which already has a presence in the ocean freight market, gets access to the air cargo industry, and Envirotainer gets access to Savi's cutting-edge technology.

The two companies have set up joint teams and begun to integrate their software products. That work is expected to be completed in the spring of next year. Both companies will market the integrated solution to the $8-billion marketplace for temperature-sensitive air cargo. They expect to move into tracking baggage ULDs, pallets and other containers as the system is built out.
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