Closing the Gap: How IoT Technology is Enabling Total Visibility of Refrigerated Containers at Sea

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container fleet tracking webinarRefrigerated containers spend a large portion of their in-transit time at sea, where managing them poses a series of challenges. Crews are often unable to complete regular checks because of heavy workloads, unfavorable sea and weather conditions and the size of the vessels themselves. Furthermore, traditional reefer telematics rely on cellular communications that lose connectivity with the cellular network once in open water, causing containers to go ‘dark’ and putting cargo at risk.

The need for end-to-end visibility of the moving supply chain is prompting IoT technology to close the connectivity gap for reefer containers on water. VesselConnect, ORBCOMM’s comprehensive solution for monitoring reefers at sea, is used globally in some of the largest container deployments, enabling a continuous flow of actionable data from reefers to a centralized platform for complete insight of reefer operations. With more than 20 years of experience in the business, ORBCOMM is a pioneer in remote reefer management.

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Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , , , ,

FMCSA Denies Exemption for Small Carriers

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aobrd to eld telematics solutions

There is no further delay expected in the final phase-in for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied an exemption to small-business truckers.  

The FMCSA has announced it has denied an application, filed over a year ago, by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) for an exemption to ELDs for carriers with fewer than 50 employees. The application included but was not limited to one-person private or for-hire owner-operators. However, the FMCSA took the view that the application failed to provide enough evidence that safety would not be compromised under this exemption. The FMCSA says in its ruling, that it received more than 1,900 comments on the request and estimates that over 95% of the comments were in favor of the exemption. 

The Agency says that it denied the application because the SBTC does not meet the regulatory standards. In the application, the FMCSA added that the SBTC failed to “explain how you would ensure that you could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation.” 

In making its request, the SBTC said the ELD rule is not a safety regulation but it is “merely a tool to determine compliance with an existing rule that regulates over-the-road drivers’ driving and on-duty time.”   

ELDs to Increase Safety Records 

Despite this application for ELD exemption, the technology has been welcomed within other quarters in the trucking industry, with a view that it will be safer for drivers and harder to forge records.  

The American Trucking Association, (the ATA) says that this application would not lead to a safer work environment for drivers. “This would allow for the potential of falsification of records of duty status (RODS) while leaving no controls in place for enforcement.” The Association added that ELDs will improve driver experiences: “the technical specifications and requirements of ELDs ensure the accuracy of a drivers’ RODS and reduce the likelihood that a driver is operating beyond the federally established limits.” 

Carriers yet to make the switch to ELDs have until December 16, 2019, to comply. If your fleet is yet to switchover, find out how you can migrate easily and efficiently with minimal disruption. Join our webinar with the TCA to learn what you need to know on the pending transition from AOBRDs to ELDs. 

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: ,

Third-party Verification Announced for ORBCOMM’s ELD Solution

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ELD webinarThe ORBCOMM Electronic Logging Device (ELD) has been independently tested and validated by FPInnovations, also known as the PIT Group, to confirm that it fully adheres to ELD guidelines as set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The PIT Group, one of the leading objective providers of testing and process certification has been working with ORBCOMM in recent weeks to ensure the Pro-400 has been rigorously tested and fully meets the FMCSA’s ELD regulation.

The FMCSA which introduced the ELD mandate in 2017, with a two-year phase-in period, allows companies to self-certify their devices. Some ELD providers have chosen to seek third-party verification to deliver extra confidence for their customers in achieving compliance.

This third-party verification will give further peace of mind to fleet owners, that their ELDs are fully compliant with the FMCSA guideline, with just a few months to go until the final phase of the ELD Mandate. By December 2019, all drivers and carriers will be obliged to replace their Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) with registered ELDs. The aim of the ELD mandate is to create a safer and better work environment for drivers. ELDs will make it easier to accurately and transparently track and share Hours of Service (HOS) records.

Jan Michaelsen, Leader of the PIT Group says: “PIT Group continues to provide independent testing services to ELD providers in the U.S. to ensure that fleets do not carry the burden of choice when it comes to selecting compliant ELDs. ORBCOMM, like our other clients, has relied on independent verification, providing its clients with the comfort of knowing that their choice of technology is fully compliant with FMCSA requirements. PIT Group is preparing for the Canadian ELD certification process and will apply its experience and lessons learned from working with U.S. providers to the Canadian process.”

3rd party verified ELD

Spotlight on Self-Certification

There has been a renewed focus in recent weeks on third-party certification for ELD, partially as a result of the Canadian ELD announcement. After consultation Canadian officials announced that all ELDs to be used there must be third-party certified, noting that some industry stakeholders expressed concern around the self-certification process.

ORBCOMM’s Executive Vice President of Product Development, Craig Malone says: “the PIT Group’s third-party ELD verification is a unique differentiator for ORBCOMM, which sets us above other providers with self-certified ELDs. We want to ensure our customers have confidence that they are deploying certified ELD devices in the field that will deliver a strong ROI and the highest level of performance for the long term.” He added: “We are pleased to work with the PIT Group experts and leverage their comprehensive knowledge of the trucking industry and ELD regulations to ensure that our Pro-400 fleet management solution is 100% ELD compliant.”

The Rules are Clear

If a driver is found to be without an ELD on the road, or an ELD that fails to meet standards, there are repercussions for them and the carrier. Failure to produce logs when requested by an official can result in citations for the driver, and penalties and fines for the carrier, including impacting the CSA scores.

For more information about the upcoming transition from AOBRDs to ELDs and how truck fleets can migrate easily with minimal disruption, click here for ORBCOMM’s free, on-demand webinar with the Truckload Carriers Association and learn how to Smooth Your Ride from AOBRDs to ELDs.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Fleet Safety Update: Get Prepared for Operation Safe Driver Week 2019

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deploying fleet safetyDriver actions are still a factor in 94% of all traffic crashes. That’s the sobering statement from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) ahead of Operation Safe Driver Week. Extra law enforcement personnel will be monitoring United States Highways for CMV and car drivers who engage in dangerous driving behavior.

If a driver is found to be engaging in unsafe behaviors, they can be pulled over and receive a warning and/or citation. The enforcement week runs July 14-20.

Every year enforcement officials pay particular attention to one area of on-the-road behavior, this year the focus is on speeding. The CVSA continues to emphasize the importance of all driver behavior but says speeding is still a major factor on our roads. The FMCSA’s 2016 Large Truck and Bus Facts report says that speeding of any kind is the single most common driver-related crash factor for all drivers. And the NHTSA says speeding can impact even when you’re at the limit if other conditions make the road unsafe. Speeding becomes even more apparent in the likes of bad weather, poor road condition, or poorly lit areas.

Enforcement officers will be on the lookout, especially for speeders, while also promoting the message that: ‘Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

Unsafe Driving Behavior Under Scrutiny

The annual blitz can give fleets a significant pause for thought. During the same week last year, over 113,000 CMV and car drivers received citations. Some 87,907 warnings were issued for a variety of unsafe driving behaviors. While it may seem that we are getting a handle on fleet safety best practice habits, the statistics deliver a different story. The most common for CMV drivers were:

  1. State/Local Laws – 6,008 citations
  2. Speeding – 1,908 citations
  3. Failing to use a seat belt while operating a CMV – 1,169 citations
  4. Failure to obey a traffic control device – 754 citations
  5. Using a handheld phone – 262 citations

As well as speeding, officials will be on the lookout for all dangerous driving activity, including distracted driving, failing to use a seatbelt, driving too closely, driving in a reckless or aggressive way, evidence of drug driving and more.

Safety at the Heart of Fleet Manager’s Priorities

For fleet managers, driver safety is at the heart of everything they do, and Operation Safe Driver Week can be a reminder of that. With more and more vehicles on the road every day, creating a safety-first culture can help your organization keep its focus. There are plenty of ways to move towards this. Implementing a safety policy, that gives written guidelines on rules and consequences. Empower drivers to perform tasks safely as well as efficiently, by giving the space and time for them to do what they do best: drive. Driver rewards programs increase buy-in from drivers. Recognition, personal gifts or monetary rewards can go the extra mile in getting drivers on-board with safety programs in the organization.

Read more on ORBCOMM’s Fleet Safety Solution.

Proactive Fleet Safety Solutions

As a committed member of the CVSA, ORBCOMM is dedicated to supporting the goals of Operation Safe Driver Week. Our telematics tools monitor and reduce instances of speeding within a fleet. Our solutions offer:

• Compliance
• Real-time in-cab verbal coaching
• Seatbelt usage alerts
• Speed-by-Street
• Crash & Roll Over Detection

ORBCOMM’s solutions help fleets to ensure compliance, reward drivers who perform to best safety practices and identify drivers who require further training.

To learn more, schedule a demo or email

fleet safety device

With state-of-the-art verbal coaching technology, ORBCOMM’s Pro-400 talks to drivers, telling them when they’re speeding, driving aggressively or not wearing a seat belt, helping them develop better driving habits.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

AIS Data: Paving the Way for a Brighter Future

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Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a maritime automatic tracking system that monitors a ship’s location information, identification and much more. Adam Barnes is ORBCOMM’s newest Maritime Business Executive and in this Q&A shares his thoughts on AIS Data and its uses in the industry.

What’s the next big thing for AIS?

In recent years, as industrial Internet of Things technology has developed, AIS usage has grown in scope. It can be combined with AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies to extract more and increasingly specific information. From large government entities to small single-vessel companies, AIS can be utilized in a variety of ways.

We have a number of partners who use our AIS data to correlate with satellite imagery and sensor information to help identify ‘dark targets’ or vessels who turn their AIS on and off for any reason, including to evade detection because they are doing something illegal. Examples include when fishing fleets use transshipment, which is the transfer of fishing catch from one vessel to another, when engaged in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, or when other commercial vessels such as oil and gas tankers attempt to evade sanctions. 

What are some of the typical ways AIS data is used by ORBCOMM partners?

AIS data is used in a myriad of ways. The beauty of ORBCOMM’s AIS data is that it combines both terrestrial and satellite AIS feeds, providing the best of both worlds. The data can be used for its original intent to avoid collisions at sea and in busy harbors and inland waterways. But that’s just a start. Search and rescue vessels can use AIS as an additional data source to better understand the position and navigation status of other ships in the vicinity to more effectively respond to an emergency.

One of the biggest impacts may be on global supply chain operations. Port managers are already using AIS data to accurately monitor expected vessel arrival, berthing and departure times. This can drive tremendous efficiencies for port and terminal operations, such as improving coordination of the myriad port service activities associated with each vessel call. With today’s mega-vessels loading and offloading upwards of 10,000 containers at a time, more precise data on vessel arrival and departure can also have significant supply chain benefits, giving better advance visibility to shippers, hauliers, rail carriers and other parties coordinating complex, large-scale landside logistics.

AIS data is also used by national regulatory agencies to help manage fishing quotas and prevent in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing with alerts when vessels move into closed or protected zones. This allows authorities to proactively monitor and intercept these vessels.

Thinking outside the box, hedge funds can combine AIS data with cargo intelligence to track the movement of commodities globally to better understand when and where there may be a surplus or scarcity of a particular commodity, informing investment strategies.

How is ORBCOMM different from competitors in the AIS market today?

ORBCOMM provides the industry’s most comprehensive global AIS service – full stop. We combine our own, well established, dedicated satellite network for our satellite AIS data with leading terrestrial AIS data streams into a single, easy-to-use interface. ORBCOMM processes more than 28 million messages daily, from over 240,000 AIS transponders. ORBCOMM AIS is proven to be reliable from the most congested waterways to the open ocean.

We understand the market, we’re a trusted partner, and we share our experience to help partners be successful. We don’t compete with our partners. We enable them to succeed. ORBCOMM is a well-established and financially stable partner with over 2 million subscribers, including numerous Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Whether it’s helping artisanal fishing communities stay safer, making maritime visibility easier, or tracking fisheries’ global footprint, I know it’s an exciting time ahead.

Where can people learn more about ORBCOMM’s AIS technology package? 

Learn more about ORBCOMM’s AIS data services here and read more about the three keys to complete maritime visibility here.

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Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , ,

Newell & Wright Drive Efficiency and Performance with Telematics

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“We’ve used vehicle tracking a lot more efficiently since moving. If there’s a breakdown or a delay, they can plan a second job, or move a second job. Do they have enough time, enough fuel? They can see all this immediately. They don’t even need to contact the driver. They can do it all at the touch button.” – Stephen Newell, Newell & Wright.

Companies in every industry can face growing pains with technology. This is no secret. As companies grow, they can start to outpace the technology they use. These companies can be left with technology that can’t scale at the pace of their business.

This was exactly the concern for Newell & Wright. The transportation company, working out of Sheffield in the UK, found that its existing telematics provider could not keep up with its continuing growth. It turned to ORBCOMM’s telematics solution to increase efficiencies in the business, develop better driving habits amongst its team and for better integration with its existing technology stack.

Download the case study now and find out how Newell & Wright increased efficiencies and improved driver scoring through innovative software, hardware and a dedicated integration and installation process.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , ,

Vessel Monitoring, Reefer Telematics and Heavy Equipment – all on the agenda at CommunicAsia 2019

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ORBCOMM at CommunicAsia, in Singapore 2019.

As the largest technology exhibition in the region, CommunicAsia is a must-attend for anyone looking to begin or expand their technology business. The event, in its 30th year, offers a wide range of ISPs, satellite operators, system integrators, mobile operators and many others in Asia. The ORBCOMM team had its best year yet at the June 2019 event. 

As we’ve seen, global M2M connections are continuing to grow, with Cisco predicting 28.5 billion networked devices by 2022. With CommunicAsia at the forefront of this growth, it was a great opportunity to showcase new and existing products, meet new and existing partners and consolidate current and future business partnerships.  

The event is set in the beautiful surrounds of Singapore, a city that’s not only centrally located for convenience, but also beautiful and easy to navigate. For ORBCOMM, the three days here is the equivalent of three weeks of travel to see our individual customers and prospects. The many meetings we have on the boothand the prospects we haven’t had the chance to meet yet all drop by to say hello. This means that the efficiency of the event is extremely high. CommunicAsia is now wellknown as the time and place to get together and discuss the year ahead with regards to sales, products, and opportunities. Not only that, each year ORBCOMM meets new and exciting potential customers, to discuss projects that continue to challenge us and encourage innovation. 

ais data advantagesORBCOMM, as the industry leader in industrial IoT, M2M, and satellite IoT communications, has the opportunity to meet contacts and companies in all three areas. Some of our popular discussions this year included vessel monitoring, telematics solutions to track and monitor remote heavy equipment, as well as a lot of interest in our CT 3000 series Reefer Container Telematics Devices. 

Please contact us if you’d like more information on these or any other of our solutions. For ORBCOMM, CommunicAsia continues to be a strategic and educational event, well worth exhibiting and attending each year. We look forward to doing it all again in 2020.

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Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , ,

Canadian ELDs to be Mandatory by June 2021 (with No Grandfather Clause)

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aobrd to eld telematics solutionsThe Canadian Government has revealed its firm plans for ELD. Minister for Transport Marc Garneau announced the rule, which will require all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and bus operators to use third-party certified ELD devices by June 2021. Electronic logging devices, better known by the acronym ELD, will replace paper logs.

With some exceptions, the rules will be broadly aligned to those already in place in the United States since December 2017. Transport Canada says this alignment aims to minimize any disruption in cross-border operations, which will “facilitate trade and minimize the impact on Canada’s cross-border operators.” Implementing Canadian ELD should smooth border crossing and ensure consistency for long-haul truckers working in both countries.

Canadian ELD will also have a different phase-in timeline. A single 24-month implementation phase will affect all CMVs under Canadian Federal Hours of Service (HOS) Rules. This means there is no grandfather clause, a rule in the United States whereby AOBRDs could still be used during the lead up to the final phase of the ELD mandate (The ELD mandate is a US federal rule that says that a driver’s Record of Duty Status must be recorded electronically.)

The aim of ELDs is to prevent driver fatigue and make roads safer for all users. According to Transport Canada, 5-10% of drivers “operate in excess of allowable limits.” By reducing HOS violations through ELDs, the government expects a reduction in the crashes caused by driver fatigue. The devices will also have the purpose of reducing painful and labor-intensive paper logbooks.

Some Differences on the Horizon with Canadian ELD

No Change to HOS Rules

There will be no change to the Hours of Service (HOS) rules. First established in 2005, HOS rules govern the amount of time a driver can spend on the road. The real difference is that the hours will need to be tracked electronically.

Third-party Certification

Industry stakeholders who were consulted on the process expressed a lack of confidence around the self-certification process that happened in the US. Based on this, Transport Canada is creating a third-party certification process. All ELD models will need to be third-party certified.

Mandatory requirement from June 2021

electronic logging deviceThe Canadian ELD will be a mandatory requirement from June 2021. The 24-month rollout phase was chosen to give carriers and drivers time to become fully compliant and to allow for certification of ELDs. Transport Canada expects that this timeline will allow ELDs to be tested and certified and for carriers to test, acquire and install ELDs based on their preferences.

No Grandfather Clause

Unlike in the USA, legislators have removed the grandfather clause, whereby an existing device, such as an Electronic Recording Device (ERD) can be used in the lead-up to the final mandate implementation phase. Transport Canada says this phase is no longer necessary. Approximately 86% of CMVs have an existing ERD or US-Compliant ELD already installed. Transport Canada says that older equipment can be served with a software upgrade.

Federal Jurisdiction

The rules will apply to commercial drivers who are federally regulated and who currently use a paper logbook.


These will apply to short term rentals and some older vehicles. Transport Canada considered requests for several types of exemptions in the lead-up to this publication. Further exemptions can be applied for. Exemptions will be issued if it is deemed to be in the public interest and unlikely to impact motor carrier safety.

Differences between Canadian and US ELD

Although Canadian ELD will be broadly like its US counterpart, there are some exceptions. One notable exception is in roadside driver inspection through logs and file transfer. Under the Canadian mandate, upon request by an official, the record will be transferred by email. Inspectors will specify an email address in the case of drivers having to present their RODS. This address is dynamic. In the US, the email address is static. Local USB 2.0 transfer and Bluetooth transfer are optional but not mandatory for the ELD. Personal Conveyance rules also differ between the two mandates.

Get Ready to Switch Early

canadian e-log solutionThe Canadian trucking industry is welcoming the mandate. Canadian Trucking Association Chair Scott Smith says, “The vast majority of our companies and drivers in our industry fully comply with Hours of Service rules, but, undoubtedly, the implementation of tamper-proof, third-party ELD devices will further enhance safety and help ensure all drivers and companies hold themselves to the highest levels of compliance.”

Although ELD might be familiar to many in the Canadian industry, the message now is to start preparing for Canadian ELD as soon as possible. If your fleet operates in Canada, ensure you learn the CCTMA’s technical procedures. The CCMTA has published the technical specification, formally entitled Technical Standards for Electronic Logging Devices, to coincide with Gazette II.

For US fleets operating in Canada, while the idea is to minimize the impact on cross-border trade, it is important that they still ensure their ELD is compliant with Canadian ELD rules.

ORBCOMM’s current work and innovations around US ELD will significantly speed up product development required for Canadian ELD and we anticipate it will be ready well before the 2021 deadline. Get a head start now—find out more about ORBCOMM’s ELD solutions and contact us at

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , , ,

Opportunities for Rail Transport, Tackling the European Driver Shortage and a Record Year for Transport Logistic

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The New Silk Road, the European driver shortage and addressing the transportation impact on the environment – these were the big issues and some of the hottest topics at Transport Logistic in Munich in June. One of the world’s leading trade shows, Transport Logistic had a record year and the ORBCOMM team was part of a 2,347-strong range of exhibitors, with 64,000 visitors across the three days. Visitors came from 125 countries, making it the biggest event yet.

Economic and Trade Evolution in a Time of Climate Crisis

With reducing C02 emissions firmly on the cards, the climate crisis, and environmental impact was on everyone’s lips at Transport Logistic. There was a renewed and strong interest from customers and visitors alike in relation to climate-friendly technology. Throughout the show, we heard that while the free flow of traffic is important, it cannot come at the cost of environmental and climate impacts. Companies were interested in how climate-friendly technology can assist in reducing the environmental footprint; for example, our solar-powered GT 1200 series for trailer tracking requires no maintenance for up to 10 years.

Opportunities to be Found in Rail Transport

The opportunities afforded to operators since the introduction of the New Silk Road meant it was a widely discussed topic of conversation across the floor. Chinese companies are increasingly looking for cooperation partners in Europe as part of the Silk Road Initiative. This land connection by rail is an alternative to air freight which takes five days and to ocean freight that needs six weeks. Rail freight can be completed in 12-15 days. ORBCOMM’s customer UNIT45 is already helping big-name shippers like HP and Friesland Campina take advantage of the New Silk Road with a new breed of 45ft temperature-controlled containers monitored and controlled by our CargoWatch® IoT telematics and cloud platform.

There was also much interest in the new direct rail connection set up especially for fresh produce, between Valencia and Rotterdam, which was launched in May. Called CoolRail, this temperature-controlled train transports cargo between the two port cities three times a week, 48 weeks a year. It transports 42 containers to the Netherlands and back in a single day. While transporting products to the Netherlands takes just as long via the new rail connection as road haulage, the key benefit here is sustainability, with CO2 reductions of 70 to 90% compared to trucks.

Driver Shortages across Europe

A key area of concern at the show was around Europe’s lack of skilled driving personnel. Indeed, this is a common topic of conversation that is impacting across European markets as well as in North America. In the UK, BIFA says there is a shortage of 52,000 drivers. With a shortage of 45,000 drivers in Germany in 2017, it is a growing – and worrying – trend. Attendees heard about some of the operational and tactical measures fleets can take to continue to recruit and retain professional drivers. These include developing more attractive working conditions, the use of artificial intelligence for long-term fleet benefits and how efficiency and transparency can be leveraged to attract skilled professionals.

Economic trade tensions also swept through conversations across the Munich hallway, and how they impact everyday operations of transportation companies, but “goods find their way despite custom disputes.” This view came amid some optimism from DHL’s Dr Frank Appel who was part of the discussion around continuing tension between China and the US. There was agreement that while priority is to keep traffic flowing, the challenges to make it efficient and affordable are not tachograph data

ORBCOMM’s Range of Solutions

As global trade tensions continue, we saw significant interest in cargo telematics at the show. Smart trailers make cargo a lot more visible at times when they are most at danger of being invisible. It surprised some to note that trailer telematics is already one of the fastest growing branches of Internet of Things technology. We fielded plenty of interest from fleets who are looking to increase security, improve driver satisfaction and ultimately deliver better ROI.

Refrigerated transport was also a key concern for logistics operators. We spoke in detail with many visitors about urban deliveries and the importance of a multi-tasking refrigeration solution. For example, ORBCOMM’s telematics solution works seamlessly with refrigerated rigid trucks, the urban delivery workhorse vehicle. The truck, designed to cope with frequent door openings and closings, multiple jobs and stops and temperature varieties, works best with telematics designed for the job.

It will be another two years before the next Transport Logistic rolls around. By then, we should be clearer at least on trade issues such as Brexit, Chinese – North American trade talks and digitalisation of global logistics.  We look forward to seeing you again in Munich 2021!

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , ,

M2M on the World Stage with ORBCOMM at CommunicAsia

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The impact of the connected world continues to increase. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, there will be 28.5 billion networked devices by 2022. By 2022, half of global connected devices and connections will be M2M. This share will grow from 34 percent in 2017 to 51 percent by 2022, accounting for 14.6 billion connections. M2M is the fastest growing category and includes smart meters, video surveillance, healthcare monitoring, transportation and package or asset tracking. ORBCOMM is looking forward to taking part in the M2M conversation at this year’s CommunicAsia event 18-20 June 2019.

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Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , ,

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