MAERSK CONTAINER INDUSTRY: A step into the future with IoT

Maersk Container Industry (MCI) manufactures refrigerated containers and refrigeration units for the intermodal industry, covering shipping companies, fruit multinationals, and leasing companies.

With the help of Delegate, Maersk Container Industry has been equipped for the future with a large IoT solution where data is at the center.

Maersk Container Industry (MCI) operates in a market with fierce competition. This is not new, and MCI has changed course and gone from producing steel containers and refrigerated containers (in technical terms called reefers) to today focusing exclusively on refrigerated containers and related solutions. Therefore, they need a partner for their IoT solution. 

Despite a strong position in the market for refrigerated containers, where they not only have one of the strongest products but are also a well-established name, they increasingly feel the competition and know that only the adaptable survive. 

MCI's latest venture has been named "Sekstant". Sekstant is a comprehensive customer-facing data solution that connects the core business with the latest technologies: Cloud, IoT (Internet of Things), and Advanced Analytics. 

The goal is unequivocally to secure the business for the future, and in this way, Sekstant is the guiding star in a new chapter with data as the focal point. 

But what can Sekstant do? And how will it secure MCI in the future? 

An IoT solution that provides a customer experience in a class of its own 

The cornerstone of Sekstant is large amounts of data from the individual refrigerated containers, which are sent to a Cloud solution built in Microsoft Azure. Incoming IoT data is stored and processed here so that data can be displayed meaningfully for the many different end-users. 

Data from the refrigerated containers is made visible through a web portal to the customers, where they can monitor their food during transport. 

Customers can, among other things: 

  • Gain insight into the exact energy consumption of the individual refrigerated container so that they can check whether billing is correct and minimize their costs. 
  • Deliver even better "Total Cost of Ownership" (TCO) to their end customers, as they have real-time insight into the operation of the refrigerated container. In this way, they can ensure uptime, better monitor the contents of the refrigerated container, and thus react if errors occur and correct them before the load is exposed to risk. 
  • Change settings in temperature and atmosphere during shipping. 
  • Quickly detect damage to the refrigerated container during transport and handling. 
  • Achieve savings when preparing for transport and service. 
  • Optimize the utilization of the individual refrigerated container's operation. 
  • Document emitted CO2. 

 

The focal point of Sekstant was to differentiate refrigerated containers from MCI from those of competitors. And that's precisely what MCI has achieved: They've got a customer-facing data solution that creates significant added value. 

"There have been solutions on the market for some years from the providers on the side of the industry, but sales have been limited. For us, it has been a requirement that the value creation of the system must be far greater than the costs – and we have reached our goal with that. As a manufacturer of the refrigerated container itself, we have domain knowledge and better opportunities to achieve this if it is backed by creativity and hard work." 

– Anders Gamborg Holm, Maersk Container Industry 

A complex project with great internal benefits 

Sekstant is created to handle more than 200,000 active refrigerated containers in operation worldwide. It has required a well-thought-out solution with a thoroughly planned architecture. 

The IT architecture behind Sekstant has been built from the start to handle the many different data types that come from an industrial product, such as a refrigerated container. With up to 60% of the operating time onboard a ship in international waters with a limited internet connection, data often comes in larger batches. Therefore, it was essential to have a cloud solution like Azure, where computing power is available when needed. As the solution contains sensitive business-critical data, data security is carefully planned and a key element of Sekstant. 

Sekstant was the start of a data-driven journey, and the goal was to create a customer experience that made a difference. But the internal benefits have also proved great. 

Sekstant gives, among other things: 

  • Overview of how the individual refrigerated container is best operated and serviced. 
  • Access to remote upgrade of the individual refrigerated container's operating system in connection with software updates so that it no longer has to be done when the container is in port. 
  • Possibility of remote support for repairs. 

 

The long-term potential is that MCI in the future will have a much better insight into customers' use of refrigerated containers. 

It does not only make sense in the short run regarding service and maintenance. In the long run, the large amount of data can create a whole new foundation for product development and mean a world of difference for the business. 

In this way, Sekstant is an IoT solution with great value. But it would never have succeeded without strong cooperation and thorough preparation. 

"Smart Product solutions, where IoT is used in an already complex industrial product, are often comprehensive and place great demands on both the Cloud platform and the implementation partner – as well as the many other dependencies on hardware, telecommunications companies, and other IT systems. Everything must work together! But it is fun and fantastic to experience how a business-critical solution like Sekstant helps to enable a new data-driven journey based on a clear strategic commitment for an international company like MCI." 

- Kim Hyttel Nikolajsen, Data & AI Expert at Delegate. 

From the launch of Sekstant, MCI has experienced significant sales benefits because they are “front-runners” and the first to build an integrated IoT solution. This has made it significantly easier to get speaking time with customers.

“We have experienced enormous interest from customers, most recently at demonstrations at this year’s most important trade fair Intermodal in Hamburg. Representatives from all over the world took the time to see what a difference we as the first OEM can make with an IoT solution. We are getting ready to demonstrate the system to many of these customers in the field now, ” 

– Anders Gamborg Holm, Maersk Container Industry 

Another important parameter in relation to the dialogue with customers has been new industry conditions. 

From 2020, there will be new conditions for the entire industry. With a focus on emitting less CO2, there are different requirements and a much more expensive type of fuel must be used. This means a cost increase of as much as 45% on fuel! With Sekstant, MCI is a big step ahead of the competition, and can help their customers by visualizing the actual power consumption during shipping. This insight makes it possible to calculate the actual costs, and forms the basis for the next step in relation to minimizing fuel costs in connection with the transport of the refrigerated container both on land and on water. 

“Energy efficiency has always been an important sales parameter for Star Cool and technologically we have always been one step ahead of our competitors. Sekstant will help our customers to reap the full benefits of greater transparency and monitoring of the real energy consumption of the reefer fleet.” 

– Anders Gamborg Holm, Maersk Container Industry  

If you want to know more about Sekstant, you should watch Maersk Container Industry’s film about the solution here.

"Representatives from all over the world took the time to see what a difference we as the first OEM can make with an IoT solution. We are getting ready to demonstrate the system to many of these customers in the field now."

Anders Gamborg Holm, Maersk Container Industry 

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