The number of container tracking systems in use worldwide is set to reach one million by 2017, growing at a compound annual rate of 49.1% over the next few years, according to new research from Berg Insight.
The market-research company reckons the number of units deployed on intermodal shipping containers grew by 54% in 2012 to reach 137,000 in the final quarter of the year.
The forecast implies that 4.1% of containers will be using remote tracking systems in 2017, compared with just 0.7% today.
“The installed base of intermodal containers worldwide has now reached 20 million, which represents a significant market opportunity for the telematics industry”, said Johan Svanberg, a senior analyst with Berg Insight.
As the market develops, a number of leading M2M operators – including Orbcomm (Rochelle Park, NJ, USA), AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA), EE (Hatfield, UK) and Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) – are trying to establish themselves as end-to-end solution providers of container tracking.
While the market is still in its infancy, Svanberg says the opportunity is an attractive one because container telematics can help stakeholders to comply with regulations and meet the high demands on security, information visibility and transportation efficiency that come with global supply chains.
“It has been challenging to find the right business models to suit the diverse range of players in the intermodal transportation chain, but technology advancement, declining hardware prices and market awareness are starting to come together to make remote container tracking solutions attractive,” he said.
Orbcomm has emerged as the biggest vendor of container tracking devices following recent acquisitions of StarTrak, PAR LMS and GlobalTrak.
Meanwhile, Omnitracs (San Diego, CA, USA), ID Systems (Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA) and Skybitz (Washington, DC, USA) have become especially prominent in North America, which Berg Insight deems to be the most mature market for container tracking solutions.