Silva LS invests in GPS container tracking tools

2022/07/26 at 3:35 PM

Silva LS, a Polish rail carrier operating in the intermodal transport segment, has decided to install GPS monitoring devices produced by LEVEL Systems and integrated with Oltis IT tools in its containers. It is an innovative approach to tracking shipments and fleet management tailored to the specificity of combined transport.

Satellite navigation is widely used in maritime and road transport, where it is used, inter alia, to track the route of vehicles and shipments. However, the use of this technology in intermodal transport encountered an obstacle, which is the transfer of loads between different means of transport. The solution to this problem is the GPS devices equipped with batteries that can be installed directly on a container and are integrated with IT tools allowing for real-time tracking of the position of hundreds or even thousands of loads.

Silva LS wagons equipped with GPS trackers, source: Silva LS

“We decided to use the GPS system because it provides us with 100 per cent confidence in the current location of our fleet. While the position of the wagons themselves can be controlled quite easily, in the case of containers it is more complicated. According to their purpose, they change the means of transport many times – after a few reloads, tracing their entire route on the basis of documentation alone is too laborious. Especially when there is an effect of scale in the form of hundreds, and prospectively, thousands of our containers. The advantage of being easy to follow almost continuously is therefore very important to us. An additional benefit is the automation of the monitoring of the necessary rolling stock inspections – it also makes work easier,” comments Tomasz Tesche, member of the board and managing director of Silva LS.

New functionalities for customers

The ability to observe where the ordered goods are at any given moment is specific for customers of the intermodal industry, such as the e-commerce sector. Online stores more and more often offer shipment tracking. For this reason, intermodal operators are also investing in systems that allow this functionality.

“Ultimately, we plan to configure the railway transport management platform and GPS system in a way that allows for easy tracking of the shipment also for our customers. This will be another step towards developing comprehensive railway solutions similar to courier companies,” says Tomasz Tesche.

Reliability in harsh conditions

The designers of devices for monitoring load units used in combined transport had to face two challenges related to the use of this type of transport. First, the devices cannot be powered from an external power source. Second, they have to work in extremely varied meteorological conditions. A ship or train travelling from Asia to Europe often crosses several climatic zones along the way. The solution turned out to be devices resistant to external conditions with their own batteries.

“TotalFinder units are waterproof, fireproof and dustproof. These devices allow the monitoring of wagons, heavy equipment or loading units used in unfavourable environments, for example during long transport in various weather conditions. The unit’s battery allows for 10 years of operation without any maintenance,” assures Michal Hojný, director of business development at LEVEL Systems.

Facilitations for rail carrier

The full use of the possibilities offered by GPS devices is possible due to their integration with advanced IT systems that collect information and integrate it into applications allowing logistics operators and carriers to automate and simplify many activities. Oltis has integrated GPS devices with the Simon tool, which tracks the location of wagons and containers, and with the LWP Wagon Catalog application, which facilitates the management of the rolling stock, including activities such as planning inspections, cost supervision, tracking the location of wagons, their route, calculating revenues generated from each wagon, recording their work.

“The functionality and reliability of the GPS monitoring system have been confirmed by large logistics operators in Czechia and Slovakia. When developing IT systems for the transport industry, we rely on our 25 years of experience and many years of cooperation with suppliers of GPS devices. Moreover, we provide carriers with the Oltis map of the rail network in Europe and Asia, which we update regularly. From the beginning, we have been guided by the principle of adapting tools and technologies to the expectations and specificity of a particular logistics operator or carrier. This allows the rail industry to fully exploit the potential of technologies such as GPS. European transport is facing the challenges of modal shift and reducing the carbon footprint, the digitalisation of freight rail and intermodal transport is required to meet these goals,” comments Tomáš Kroča, President of the Management Board of Oltis Polska.

You will be able to meet representatives of SILVA LS, LEVEL Systems and Oltis Polska at the Intermodal in Poland 2022 conference, which will take place in Janów Podlaski on 27-29 September 2022. Information about the event and registration of participants is available at: http://intermodalinpoland.eu

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