Wireless Applications

Active RFID Solution Manages Imports at the Port of Los Angeles

April 18, 2006

WhereNet's wireless asset tracking and location system helps global container shipping leader realize productivity gains.


SANTA CLARA, Calif., /PRNewswire/ -- WhereNet Corp., a provider of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced that APL, a global container shipping line leader, has realized productivity gains as a result of using the WhereNet active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) and marine terminal software to help manage its 292-acre Global Gateway South terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

The WhereNet installation is the largest RTLS deployment in the world and the first-ever use of active RFID technology in a "wheeled" terminal; that is, one that predominantly stores containers on chassis instead of stacking them on the ground. Because the WhereNet system lets APL track and locate its container handling equipment and chassis, and provides real-time visibility of the entire yard inventory, APL has been able to improve service to truckers while increasing container throughput.

As further testimony of APL's success, the California Trucking Association (CTA) recently named APL's Global Gateway South terminal as the "Fastest and Best Overall Marine Terminal" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

"In an industry where every minute counts, reducing the time needed to locate a container from several hours down to a few minutes or seconds is a major breakthrough for our operations," said Jack Cutler, port manager at APL's Global Gateway South Terminal. "In addition to the obvious cost savings, the WhereNet system expedites throughput and essentially increases the capacity of our yard—without adding real estate—as we now have real-time information about available slots in our yard at all times."

Real-Time Visibility Improves Customer Service
While most marine terminals store containers primarily in stacks, APL's Global Gateway South terminal is mostly a wheeled environment. By storing containers on chassis, APL offers its customers a self-service approach that lets them enter the facility and pick up the container at their convenience without having to wait for the container to be pulled from a stack. Given this service arrangement, APL has affixed WhereTag transmitters to more than 30,000 chassis that service southern California intermodal and distribution facilities, and to its entire inventory of terminal trucks.

A local infrastructure of more than 80 wireless WhereLAN locating access points and WherePort devices at 12 entry and 8 exit gates enables the WhereNet system to automatically recognize when a chassis is entering or leaving the facility. The WhereNet system provides real-time tracking of each on-site chassis and automatically updates the chassis location when it is parked. Expediting the Vessel-to-Yard Process

The WhereNet RTLS-based solution at APL replaces outmoded technology that used tracking equipment to scan each row of containers—a process that could take several hours.

Now, when a container is unloaded from an APL ship and placed onto a chassis, an International Longshore and Warehouse Union marine clerk associates the container, chassis, and yard tractor into APL's terminal operating software. A driver then transports the container and chassis to the yard and disconnects from the chassis. The yard tractor is equipped with sensors, and when the tractor disconnects from the chassis, the associated container is immediately located to a specific parking stall. Additionally, the WhereTag attached to the chassis transmits location data every few minutes. Because APL knows the exact location of each chassis, they can easily tell outside truckers the location of their containers within the yard, improving on-time cargo delivery to customers.

According to the CTA survey of truckers, APL operates the fastest terminal in southern California, taking into account the amount of time truckers spend at a terminal delivering one container and receiving another. "Anyone familiar with the record volume of containers entering and leaving the port on a daily basis can appreciate the tremendous value that our technology provides by solving the unable-to-locate problem that has traditionally plagued these terminals," said John Rosen, director of product marketing for WhereNet Corp. "With this proven value proposition, we continue to expand the WhereNet ecosystem in the transportation and logistics industry as we solve a large, very expensive logistical problem."

About APL
APL is a global container transportation company offering more than 60 weekly services and nearly 300 calls at more than 90 ports in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. It combines world-class intermodal operations with leading-edge IT and e-commerce. APL is a unit of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, a global logistics and transportation company.

About WhereNet Corp.
WhereNet is the first company to deliver a single wireless location and communication infrastructure that reliably and cost-effectively manages valuable mobile resources and delivers a complete return on investment within 6–12 months. Based on patented, standards-compliant technology resulting from a collective 100+ years of development, the WhereNet active RFID, real-time locating system solutions enable companies such as APL, BMW, and Ford Motor Company to reduce inventory, lower operating costs, and improve operations. The company has received the Henry Ford Technology Award, was recognized for strong ROI by Computerworld, was ranked among the top 10 in the InfoWorld 100, and has been recognized as a wireless innovator by Forrester Research, Computerworld ROI, Frontline Solutions, Plant Engineering, and Supply Chain Systems magazines. WhereNet is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and has offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. For more information, visit the WhereNet Web site, or call 408-845-8500 (in the U.S.) or +32 3 286 84 50 (in Europe).

NOTE: WhereNet is a registered trademark of WhereNet Corp. WhereTag, WhereLAN, and WherePort are trademarks of WhereNet Corp. All other brands, products, or service names are or may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.


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