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Ameya Logistics Uses RFID to Add Efficiency, Value to Its Freight Yard

The Indian company has installed a system that utilizes EPC Gen 2 tags and readers to capture and store data about the location of each container stored at its facility near Mumbai.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 13, 2012Ameya Logistics has been employing an RFID-based freight-container tracking solution that it designed and co-developed, and has been sharing data collected by the system with its customers, in order to enable them to locate their containers stored at Ameya's container freight station (CFS), at any time, via the Internet or on a mobile phone using SMS text messaging. The system—which tracks each container's whereabouts via an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tag—benefits both Ameya Logistics and its customers, by helping the company know each container's location within its yard, as well as which empty slots are available for newly arrived containers.

The most immediate benefit, according to Ameya Logistics, has been a reduction in the time required for workers to search for containers stored within the yard when they need to be inspected for clearance, or shipped out from the CFS. While finding a container among the approximately 5,000 on hand could take a long time in the past, with the RFID system it takes only a matter of minutes, the firm reports. Employees can now simply view the software, identify where a particular container was last placed, according to the RFID data, and then proceed to that location.

Yard workers attach a C&B Electronics passive UHF RFID tag to the top of each container.

The solution—developed jointly by Ameya Logistics' IT department, under the leadership of Amol Jumde, the company's IT and business process manager, and technology solutions company C&B Electronics—was installed in October 2011. C&B Electronic also provided the hardware for the implementation.

This project was conceived and initiated by Percy Vapiwala, Ameya Logistics' CEO, who says he wanted to reduce human intervention within the CFS' high-risk operational areas, "and at the same time ease the tracking pain of our customer." The deployment was also aimed at improving operational efficiencies. In addition, Vapiwala says, Ameya's managing director, Ashish Goel, "wanted to provide value-added services to customers at no additional cost, and the entire team rose to the challenge and implemented the RFID technology."

Ameya Logistics' CFS, located at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, near Mumbai, stores and delivers import, export and bonded containers and cargo to more than 200 different customers (the shippers). It has been in operation for about three years. Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 containers are located at the CFS at any given time, with each 20- or 40-foot container remaining on site for an average of 10 to 12 days. While at the yard, the containers imported to India must be inspected according to that country's customs requirements—usually by customs agents, who complete the import customs requirements for the shipper. Upon arriving at the yard to conduct an inspection, an agent must be escorted to that specific container.

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