Descartes delivers real-time air freight tracking enhancements

Descartes Systems Group Press Release | September 17, 2019

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 23 seconds.

Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, announced that the Descartes Core Unit Load Device (ULD) Tracking solution now offers enhanced network performance capabilities and new support for mobile phone applications. The developments provide air carriers with an industry-leading, Bluetooth-enabled solution to automatically monitor the real-time location of international mail, parcel and cargo shipments, whether they are on the ground or in the air.

Descartes Core ULD Tracking helps air carriers automate freight tracking, increase operating efficiencies and improve asset management by providing up-to-the-minute insights into the status of air shipments bundled into a single ULD container. Carriers affix Bluetooth tags, or sensors, to their ULD fleet and connect in real-time connectivity to the ULDs via the Descartes Core Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) network, part of the Descartes Global Logistics Network (Descartes GLN). This gives carriers and their partners on-demand access to accurate location information and other ULD data via online dashboards.

The Descartes Core BLE network has enhanced density, range, resiliency and data gathering capabilities on its mesh relay infrastructure. Combined with sensor improvements designed to increase precision and readability across a broader spectrum of assets, these recent enhancements to Descartes Core ULD Tracking present new visibility performance standards for the industry and offer air carriers the following benefits:

  • Extensive network coverage – With infrastructure in 130-plus cities and 1,300-plus facilities in the majority of the world’s airports across every continent except Antarctica, the solution provides broad and dense coverage of tracking points over a “smarter,” more informative global network. Customers can also achieve a faster return on investment as a larger network shortens implementation timeframes.
  • High network performance – with thousands of ULD assets to monitor, air carriers can track high volumes of ULDs extremely quickly and accurately using the solution. Each gateway, or reader, in the network can read up to 1,000 tags in one minute, without missing or duplicating tags, even in airport environments where metal objects can interfere with reliable connectivity.
  • Wide range of sensors – Given the wide variety of goods transported by air, the solution supports different types of sensors that provide insight into ULD location and other attributes such as temperature, motion/shock, humidity, smoke, ingress/egress (to an individual door and time), battery and occupancy for dollies and loaders.
  • Improved asset management – For greater control over asset inventories, carriers can affix tags not only to containers filled with freight, but also to other ground service equipment such as vehicles, forklifts and other supply chain and delivery machines so they can be tracked as required.
  • Mobile device integration – In addition to simplifying access to global ULD data via online dashboards, the solution now provides air carriers with the flexibility to use a phone or tablet application to automatically read Bluetooth tags affixed to their assets.

“The scale and reliability of the Descartes network is fundamental to efficiently tracking air cargo,” said Jonathon Dale, manager, Commercial, Cargo Commercial and Ventures at Air New Zealand. “The latest capabilities allow us to take advantage of the broadest range of coverage available in the industry and capture more data on our pallets and containers, which translates into an even greater level of insight into the real-time movement of air freight for our customers.”

“With nearly one million ULDs currently in service, and traditional time-consuming, error-prone manual practices to manage them, the air industry faces significant impediments to providing better real-time visibility to improve both customer service and inventory management,” said Ian Craig, vice-president, Product Management at Descartes Systems Group. “Our long-standing history of innovation and unequaled reach of the Descartes GLN are helping our customers and partners tackle these issues while further automating and modernizing air freight transportation.”

Descartes is showcasing the enhanced scale and performance of the Descartes Core ULD Tracking solution at the 32nd Annual ULD Care Conference taking place Sept. 16 to 19, 2019 in Montreal, Que.

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