Maersk to launch Virtual Captain to assist container customers

Maersk has announced plans to expand its Remote Container Management (RCM) platform by adding a new virtual assistant named ‘Captain Peter’, to assist customers in managing and monitoring their container shipments.

The company says that the virtual assistant is currently being trialled by a group of select customers, with technical improvements based on testing feedback now being put in place to simplify the functionality integrated into the RCM platform.

The new version of the platform, with an updated design and additional features, including Captain Peter, is expected to be made available during the first half of 2019.

“Our goal is for the RCM product to look and feel like your favourite smartphone app. There is still a lot of paper work and difficult processes in global trade,” said Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Head of Global Reefer Management at Maersk.

“Captain Peter will help take care of some of this complexity, by seamlessly engaging with the customer from end to end in the supply chain.”

Container data

Initially, Captain Peter will perform some simple tasks such as sending updated information on container temperature and atmosphere conditions via the customers’ preferred channel, SMS or e-mail for example, as well as sharing timelines for the cargo’s end-to-end journey. Should any deviations be observed, or the shipment be delayed, Captain Peter will send a notification.

Once the container has arrived at its destination Captain Peter will also check on its status and send an update. The information sent will be configured to the specific needs of the user as the system develops, Maersk says.

Captain Peter will provide a range of container status data

The RCM technology can provide data on a reefer’s location, temperature, humidity and power status. Should any issues be detected, the supplier can be alerted and the shipment can be checked by local surveyors, potentially saving millions of dollars in lost cargo.

“With the number of active users of the RCM platform constantly growing, the aspiration is for Captain Peter to gather enough information to be able to predict potential cargo damage and provide configuration suggestions before containers are shipped,” added Ms Zerlang Karlsen.

Maersk launched RCM in September 2017, and it is currently providing data from 270,000 of its refrigerated containers equipped with machine to machine technology. Today, more than 2,300 Maersk customers have signed up for the RCM system, translating to more than 70% of the company’s reefer volume.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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