IoT applications are increasingly important in maritime container logistics

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) was founded in April 2019 by the international shipping companies MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM to create IT standards that would enable interoperability of technology solutions across the industry. The purpose is to facilitate digital interconnectivity and seamless data communication. Here, the tracking and monitoring of freight by IoT (Internet of Things) devices is becoming increasingly important.

These devices are mounted either on the outside of the container (e.g. GNSS trackers) or are located inside (e.g. environmental sensors). Today, hundreds of thousands of such devices are deployed in containers for commercial use, and their number is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.

Currently, there are no specific safety rules for these devices, so it is currently not clear whether these devices pose a danger during maritime transport, e.g. through electrical ignition sparks in explosive environments on a modern, CNG-fuelled container ship. Thus, AlbrechtConsult was commissioned by DCSA to identify and analyse the relevant international codes and standards that contain safety regulations for IoT devices. In addition, specific questions from the clients concerning these devices were answered based on these regulations.

AlbrechtConsult’s extensive knowledge in the field of dangerous goods logistics and digital communication successfully supported this project, although this task differs from the company’s previous fields of activity. Based on the final report, the DCSA members received a detailed overview of the fundamental safety principles and will be able to develop application guidelines for the use of IoT devices.