As goods make their journey from port to port, a lot can happen. Some sources estimate that as much as 20 per cent of cargo is damaged in some way, from a packaging dent to total loss. The global financial impact of this loss is estimated at more than $50 billion annually. Threats to the integrity of the cargo range from carelessness in loading or unloading; to high winds and rough seas; to piracy, theft and fire; to natural disasters.
Currently, many ports rely on either low-tech or multitool solutions for documenting cargo damage. For example, documenting a dented container might be accomplished by drawing an approximation of the damage on a paper form with a printed diagram. Or, a photo of the damage might be taken and catalogued in a digital file. While these solutions may be adequate, they often involve disparate filing systems and multiple steps. New technology offers a better approach.
To improve documentation and cataloguing, many ports are turning to the new Kinysis by DAP Technologies. It combines a rugged, handheld tablet computer with a 3-megapixel colour camera with auto-focus and video, 1D/2D barcode reader, optical character recognition (OCR) and radio frequency identification (RFID) capability, GPS, Wi-Fi and WLAN.
With this single, lightweight computer, an operator can scan, track and locate containers; document cargo damage; and wirelessly transmit data to main databases in real time. Computer hardware that multitasks earns back its value much quicker than single-purpose components, helping ports achieve maximum return on their investment.