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GPRS-GPS Tags Help Shippers Fight Theft, Reduce Costs

Olive product producer Transmed Foods and logistics provider Grupo Hemas are among those using the technology to track a container's location and issue an alert if its integrity is breached.
By Claire Swedberg
Initially, Grupo Hemas is tagging only several hundred containers shipped from Mexican manufacturing sites and bound for the United States. However, the company intends to expand the process to tens of thousands of shipments both to and from Mexican manufacturing sites, as well as containers carrying goods to and from Asia, and to provide that data to its customers on its Hemaspheria server.

"We are optimistic that together with Savi Networks, we can grow our Hemaspheria system not only in Mexico, but also throughout Latin and North America," states Hector Mora Gomez, Grupo Hemas' president and CEO. "Soon, our next step will be to expand this service to other countries where cargo security is a problem. Companies in Mexico are used to using armed escorts to secure their cargo. Once we demonstrate how well this technology works, they love it, and can replace the expensive and risky armed-guard system."

Although it is too early to determine if or how much the system would reduce crime in comparison with armed guards, Mora Gomez notes, it is likely to be a deterrent since any tampering with the SaviTrak seal will lead to an automatic alert to public safety agencies in the area. The system has already prevented crimes related to Grupo Hemas' containers. "We have already had incidents of potential robberies of our shipments," he says, "but thanks to SaviTrak's ability to detect tampering and inform us in real time, the police were able to be dispatched to the conflict at the precise moment the robbery was occurring, so the cargo was safe."

Another recent SaviTrak user, British water company Highland Spring, began employing the system in early 2009 to monitor the water it exports to the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The firm is using the system to improve supply chain efficiency, and to reduce costs related to product delays or inventory over-stocking.

In addition, Savi Network announced in August that Coscon Logistics is using the SaviTrak LS and LSE tags to enable its customers (product manufacturers) to track containers loaded with goods made in China and bound for destinations throughout the world (see Coscon's Customers Use Tags to Monitor Cargo).

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