Study: Serious lack of real-time hazmat tracking

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Fewer than 10 percent of hazmat shippers and transporters have the technology to track their shipments in real time, according to a survey conducted for a mobile supply chain solutions company. The research firm markITelligence did the survey for New Jersey-based DP&C Enterprises.

The firm polled pharmaceutical, chemical, oil and gas shippers on the procedures and technologies for monitoring hazmat shipments in nonpowered containers such as rail cars, truck trailers and freight boxes. The survey indicated a “significant lack of information” during transportation, which can represent a national security risk, says Feza Pamir, a DP&C vice president.

“Today, hazardous materials can leave a warehouse, and most shippers have no ability to monitor the location or condition of that material until it arrives at its final destination,” Pamir says. More than half the companies use third-party services for asset tracking, and the remainder track internally, using a combination of GPS-based devices and fleet management software.

More than two-thirds of survey participants said real-time data access is very important, and the majority of these respondents were interested in the impact the data would have on security and compliance. A pilot program DP&C conducted with a chemical company resulted not only in better company security, but also a 10 percent jump in utilization of isotainer rail cars and reduced shipping costs.

More than half of respondents indicated that their companies deploy at least 2,500 nonpowered assets to move hazmat. None had fewer than 1,000 nonpowered assets.