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Savi, HPH Form Joint Venture

Cargo-tracking provider Savi Technology and seaport operator Hutchison Port Holdings have created a new company that will deploy Savi's RFID technology around the world.
By Jonathan Collins
Apr 25, 2005Having deployed its active RFID and network technology at four seaports owned and operated by Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), Savi Technology is now forming a joint venture with the port operator. The new company, Savi Networks, aims to install that technology at HPH and other operators ports around the world and operate a global network that links those ports so that its customers can track the location and status of containerized cargo.

"Shippers will be the customer, and ports will be our partners," says Chris Stephenson, senior vice president of marketing and partner alliances at Savi Technology, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Chris Stephenson
HPH and Savi are together investing $50 million in the new venture. HPH will have a 49 percent share in the company, with Savi taking a 51 percent majority interest. Savi will contribute a license to the software to operate the RFID-based network; HPH will provide access to its port facilities.

Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), a wholly owned subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), operates 39 ports throughout the world together with a number of transportation-related service companies. Savi has deployed its technology at HPH's terminals at the ports of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands; Hong Kong, and Yantian, in China; and Felixstowe, in the United Kingdom.

Savi Networks aims to build and offer container-tracking services in a way similar to how traditional telecom service providers sold their services. It will install own and operate its tracking infrastructure. That infrastructure will consist of RFID readers installed at participating ports and a global network for distributing and sharing RFID-collected data. It will then charge shippers, logistics service providers and transportation companies a fee to use and access the network as part of its planned SaviTrak service. The fee will based per container trip, although no pricing details have yet been determined. Savi says participating ports will receive a portion of the revenue from tracked containers that pass through their locations where has Savi deployed its tracking system.

Savi Networks also plans to sell Savi Technology's handheld RFID readers, tags, network access and other hardware and services to shipping companies looking to extend the tracking network to their cargos' origin or destination points, such as a manufacturing plant or a distribution center.

Affixed to shipping containers, Savi 433 MHz battery-powered tags will communicate with the Savi network at key read sites such as shipping and receiving locations, as well as any Savi RFID-enabled ports they pass through en route. Customers would be able to receive information on a container's location, security and environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity and light, as well as the container's contents.

Although the bulk of the staff for the new venture will come initially from Savi Technology, Savi says both HPH and Savi have committed to contribute staff to the venture. Previously, when Savi technology was deployed at HPH ports, the port operators' own staff was responsible for the installations, but in the future, Savi Networks will work with each port to deploy the RFID network.

Savi says no timescale has yet been decided for when the new venture will deploy Savi's technology at other HPH ports or which other port operators are set to deploy the technology.

Savi says its joint venture's network will accommodate other automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) technologies, such as bar codes, passive RFID technologies such as EPC, and global positioning systems (GPS) used to track ships and trucks that transport oceangoing containers.

HPH also made an additional $50 million investment in privately held Infolink Systems, the parent of Savi Technology, which will provide HPH with a slightly less than 10 percent stake in Infolink on a fully diluted basis.
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