The Chennai Port of India recently announced the transition to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology for gate operations. As India’s second largest gateway, drivers were often left waiting in lines outside the terminal as documents were manually verified taking nearly six minutes per container. These long delays sent companies to nearby privately owned ports instead of utilizing the Chennai Port. With the use of RFID tags for gate operations, the goal is to reduce verification to about one minute.
For large ports like Chennai, utilizing RFID tag technology not only improves efficiency for arriving cargo containers but can help optimize the process of sending cargo containers out onto the next leg of their journey. Since RFID is considered short-range technology, pairing it with GPS technology can offer full asset visibility. RFID tags continue to advance, now including the ability to communicate via an active RFID network or satellite communication system. Combining these technologies allows for the tracking of containers, trailers or goods anywhere within a global supply chain.
In any given port, depot or yard, hundreds of cargo containers covering acres of concrete can be like finding a needle in a haystack. RFID tags provide a tracking solution that can benefit more operations than just large ports and depots. As the price of RFID technology drops, these tracking devices will become an economically viable option for smaller operations, such as single site operators.
The Hanjin bankruptcy filing announcement earlier this year was a most notable example of needing to locate containers. Had RFID technology been in place there would have been far greater visibility for all interested parties to be able to locate and track the Hanjin assets.
The ultimate goal of any RFID, GPS and satellite communication tracking is to reduce operational cost by increasing asset visibility, giving operations the ability to locate any given cargo container at any given time. And with RFID technology proving to be effective and efficient in locating containers, these devices would provide the ability to process and organize more cargo containers creating opportunities for growth.