Telematics: new journey for cargo containers

03 August 2015 Frank Ponnen, Hollard

The real-time tracking power of telematics has expanded beyond its original use of tracking personal vehicles and has become a game changer in real-time tracking of cargo containers wherever they are in the world. By Frank Ponnen, Head of Marine Hollard Broker Markets.

The dramatic increase of telematics in trucking also greatly increases the security of cargo and goods in transit on our roads which is of great interest to our specialists in both Marine and Trucking divisions.

Telematics combines two sciences: telecommunications and informatics. Telecommunications brought phone lines, cables and more recently international cellphone connectivity. Informatics added computer systems which are now highly mobile.

Limitless power

Hollard claimed a place in local telematics history in 2005 by being the first to incorporate telematics in a personal motor insurance offering. Since then multiple technical advances have given telematics the power to go far beyond tracking and retrieving private vehicles.

Specialists in our Marine and Trucking Centres of Excellence are keeping well informed about the developments and uses of this real-time monitoring power which now also includes what the public knows best as Global Positioning Systems (GPSs) or General Packet Radio Services (GPRSs). The developing benefits of this eye-in-the-sky tracking ability are virtually limitless.

Momentous container tracking

The transportation of cargo to and from ports by road is a vital part of any economy and the marine insurance process. Telematics in trucking has greatly improved the security of the vehicles and goods as well as the efficiency of fleet management and is a huge step forward for operators and businesses that move cargo by road.

However, the safety of the cargo itself, during its potentially worldwide journey, makes the development of ‘container tracking’ momentous. Since the birth of telematics over 30 years ago, computer processors have become very small and telecommunication networks are worldwide – including the satellite constellations of GPS and/or the cellphone networks of GPRS. This means current locations of containers can be pinpointed anywhere in the world.

The exciting significance of this is the powerful advantage of being able to anticipate increased risk exposure when containers are stuck in transit – such as in a bottleneck caused by a port strike. Appropriate security measures are possible.

According to Berg Insight, at the end of 2013 tracking units had been installed in 190 000 shipping containers worldwide, in the intermodal segment. This figure is expected to reach 960 000 by 2018.

So, the addition of GPS to telematics applications means ‘container tracking’ is on a significant growth path and will be delivering broad economic and security benefits in the marine environment.

Real-time fleet management

Over the past few years the use of telematics in trucks has increased dramatically. Proactive risk management and driver monitoring is greatly increased through having an overall view of a fleet in real time. Additional efficiencies include quick and accurate turnaround times as well as early identification of driver-linked risks. This reduces vehicle vulnerability and insurance risk, making it easier to accurately identify and underwrite cover.

Some, not all, of the fleet owner benefits of real-time vehicle monitoring include:

• Early notification of route deviations;
• Immediate alerts of excessive speeding by drivers;
• Excessive idling alerts;
• Harsh braking and cornering;
• Identifying driver behaviour to correct when necessary; and
• Tracking and recovery following theft or hijack.

Hollard’s assessments have shown trucking efficiency and profitability is all about drivers. The sooner our trucking specialists can work with fleet owners to fix driver behaviour the sooner they see reduced incidents that result in downtime and claims.

Reducing the downtime of each truck is vital to profitability. Whenever a vehicle is off the road the transport company loses money on a daily basis.

Telematics is set to be a major game changer in trucking as well as international cargo movement.

Quick Polls


We have watched with interest as each of the country’s large life insurers report their 2021 life claims statistics, with soaring claims and claims values. That got us thinking: how do the big life insurers compare against one another, from an IFA perspective?


An insurer is an insurer is an insurer
All are excellent: would not deal with them otherwise
There is one insurance brand that stands out for me
Tied agent: but my brand is the best out there
fanews magazine
FAnews June 2022 Get the latest issue of FAnews

This month's headlines

A free smoothie does not make a loyal customer
Consequential loss policy court cases
Everything you need to know about death, disability and severe illness cover post-emigration
Are advisers doing all they can for clients’ portfolios?
Financial advisers need help - navigating the complex ESG fund environment
Subscribe now