RTICM - Real Time Intelligent Cargo Monitoring

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Objectives of the service

The RTICM project aims at designing, developing and demonstrating  a cost-effective integrated and centralised platform to better monitor and control the multimodal (i.e. by air, road, rail and sea) transport supply chain of high value containers, globally.  It also aims at  providing customers and relevant stakeholders of the supply chains with better awareness tools in order to take near-real-time and long-term corrective actions to reduce losses and improve the efficiency of cargo’s transportation process, before they become costly problems.

The above objective is pursued via the extension of the capacities and functionalities of an existing container tracking device, to prove in a pre-operational demonstration phase its added value, and to develop and extent a joint RTICM container tracking service for high value cargos.

The new functionalities to be integrated in the RTICM service offering are:

  • Internal container wireless network
  • IRIDIUM satellite communication access
  • Software update over the air
  • Linking of geo-fencing capability
  • Linking of satellite based AIS data

Users and their needs

The target market of RTICM are high value cargo shipments with a value of more than 65.000 Euro in the following industries:

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Consumer Products
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemical

High value container shipments with a cargo value of more than 65.000 Euro, result in about 23 million shipments/year and representing an important industrial business. It offers significant growth potential with an annual growth forecasted to increase in average 8-10% by the next decade.

During the 6 month pre operational trial Hellman Logistics (D), Kühne&Nagel and Husky (L) are involved in validating the service concept at a global scale.

As importers/exporters’ supply chains extend globally, their financial and operational risk grows exponentially. That means, supply chain risk is rising sharply, particularly for high value goods - supply chain management isn’t keeping pace, tough. However every importer knows they prosper or expire on the efficient, accurate, secure and timely transit of these containers. Many sourcing strategies underestimate the magnitude of the hidden costs of a longer global supply chain, including increased transaction cost and complexity, reduced flexibility, fulfilment errors, delivery delays and cargo loss, resulting in production disruptions, missed sales and higher costs of goods sold.

Therefore - global trade requires improved visibility.  The ability to, in real time, identify the location and status of the sourced goods gives the importer the ability to fine tune its distribution channels, its inventory management and its ability to fulfil commitments to its end users.

According to own estimates from arviem:

  • 30% of all shipments are either damaged or delayed
  • 15% of companies’ logistics cost are inventory cost – safety stock
  • 30% of all perishable goods never reach the end destination
  • 1 in 5 cargo claims is due to moisture

Service/ system concept

RTICM can offer a comprehensive real-time cargo monitoring service, composed of three main elements:

  • Sensing Component: The sensing component includes a small and simple container plug-in device with a comprehensive, customized client sensor suite which can be placed inside the cargo or the pallets
  • Analytics Component: The analytics component is a cloud based software solution which uses the device sensor data in combination with other data sources and turns them into actionable information, e.g.: intrusion alert message, fulfilment and performance analysis of shipments, triggering events workflows. The goal is to correct negative trends before they become costly  
  • Operations Component: The operations component makes sure, that the devices are available at the client on time when a shipment starts, or devices are picked up at the moment the shipment is over.

The final aim of the pilot stage consists in gathering the required info in order to demonstrate that the RTICM can lead to significant savings in the management of the supply chain and in a higher customer satisfaction.


The high level schematic system architecture is displayed in the figure below, showing the key building blocks and the logistic service chain, starting from “Mounting of the tracking device on the freight container” till the ending of the sequence with “Shipment of unit to starting location of next assignment”.

Space Added Value

The proposed RTICM system and service solution includes two relevant space assets, without which the required user requirements and performance cannot be achieved:

  • Global satellite communications: Iridium communication satellite network allow ubiquitous bidirectional data transmission capabilities worldwide with lowest latencies and highly reliable, providing the near real time M2M data link to the RTICM device
  • SatNav for track&tracing of cargos

In addition, Satellite based AIS vessel tracking do bridge the location gap if the container is stuffed inside the vessels hull and outside the reach of any communication mean. AIS track analysis offers an improved estimation of the time of arrival through the detection of any non-reported detour or delayed harbour arrival.

Product Benefits

Key product benefits of the RTICM service are:

  • Full visibility (container localisation and cargo condition) all along the entire supply chain
  • Independent tracking information
  • Inventory management, since shipping status is known at any time
  • Product quality, since transport conditions are monitored and, if deviating from nominal status, immediate actions can be taken
  • Customer Service improvements, since customer can be informed in due time about any delay or possible degradation of the cargo and corrective measures can be taken immediately
  • Security, since any opening of the container doors is recorded and a notification to the shipper is sent immediately. Potential intrusion can be detected and located in time
  • Compliance, since transport conditions are monitored and their compliance with transport regulations can be documented,
  • Reduced insurance premiums, since the transport risk can be minimised.

Product Features

The RTICM container tracking device consists of a robust casing which can be (un)mounted magnetically within seconds on a standard freight container. The device holds the power supply, logic board, sensors and GPS, GPRS and Iridium modems and antennas to ensure communication and localisation. Integrated in the main device is a sensor suit for measuring temperature, humidity, shock, movement, light or the door opening. In addition a wireless sensor network can be placed inside the container in or on the cargo pallets enabling a detailed cargo condition monitoring. 


Current Status

The Final Review of the project (original contract for the Mobilbox device and CCN for the visioboxx device) took place 1st of June 2018. The market uptake of the MobilBox as a high end tracking device is still behind expectations, basically due to the still high cost in a price sensitive logistic market. However, the visioboxx as a low cost alternative is already very successfully marketed for important customers from the automotive industry sector in Germany aiming at better controlling the car manufacturing supply chain, particularly the in time delivery of components for the production within the assembly line. In addition a large contract was also signed for an institutional user in Egypt interested in manufacturing the visioboxx devices and using its services. 

Status Date

Updated: 19 June 2018 - Created: 04 September 2014