Multimodal real-time visibility on your freight

Multimodal real-time visibility on your freight

With an explosion of pent-up demand for goods post the Covid-19 pandemic, pressure on the supply chain has never been greater. It’s the perfect time for trailer fleet managers to harness technology to enjoy multimodal real-time visibility over their freight in transit.

Supply chains today

The global economy and manufacturing are recovering. There has been a surge in consumer demand for buying goods online. All these factors deplete inventory and cause supply chain blockages and delays.

These factors are a boon for air cargo transport. The shortage of capacity in shipping means cargo owners are increasingly turning to more expensive but quicker delivery by air.  According to data published by the International Air Transport Association, air freight volumes increased by 9% in February 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. (source: FreightWaves)

Transport analysts Upply acknowledge that Covid-19 will still have a major impact on road freight transportation in 2021. They expect road freight demand will rebound in Europe in line with its economic recovery.  Upply urges transport companies to embrace digitalization as soon as possible. (source: Upply)


Issues for multimodal operators

This supply situation raises several issues for multimodal supply chain operators who rely on a combination of air and road freight transport. For example, operators using air transport face significant competition for limited plane cargo capacity, high air freight costs and uncertain flight timetables which all have a knock-on effect on when to schedule trailers to pick up goods for their post-air onward journey. Operators often lack visibility and data on the ever-changing location of their freight as it travels through the supply chain. This is exacerbated by a prevalence of manually entered data and low levels of electronic, digitised data throughout the supply chain, thus impeding the generation of useful real-time data.


The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, supply shortages, delays and lack of visibility on goods in transit are also major issues for most manufacturers who have adopted the Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing method. JIT was officially developed by Toyota in the 1970’s to minimise inventory costs and accelerate products’ time to market. It minimises inventory held in stock and brings in the right volume of raw materials and parts on an as-needed basis for production.

Synchronising component delivery with production schedules has been a logistical challenge for manufacturers and transport companies alike. This is because until recently JIT manufacturers have struggled to gain real-time visibility on the location of their supplies from their transport companies. (source: project44)

RTTVP – the solution?

Fortunately, there is help at hand as the adoption of multimodal Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms (RTTVP) takes off. Analysts at Gartner define the RTTVP as “… platforms that provide commercial customers and consumers with real-time insights into their orders and shipments once they have left the brand owner’s, supplier’s or service provider’s warehouse.” Gartner expects that 50% of “global product-centric enterprises” will have such a platform by 2023.  (source: Gartner)

Two TIP trucks

RTTVP benefits

Having an RTTVP will become the norm for companies involved in transport, customer service and warehousing as increasing numbers of consumers expect real-time visibility of the location of their goods and their estimated time of arrival (ETA).

For those companies implementing RTTVPs including road freight transport companies, Gartner believes that such visibility will enable supply chain companies to act more quickly and operate proactively rather than reactively across all modes of transport. Gartner VP Bart de Muynck identifies several key benefits of RTTVPs and the holistic view it gives on shipments including:

  1. Providing accurate data in real-time.
  2. Identifying points of delay including at borders in real-time which enables transporters to reroute appropriately.
  3. Analysing carrier capacity which helps transporters understand how much capacity they are using and how it can be re-allocated for new transport contracts.
  4. Enabling cooperation and communication between shippers, improving dwell times.

project44, a leading RTTVP vendor, highlights another benefit: the technology behind it’s RTTVP, including predictive tracking, which provides more accurate ETAs. Its platform proactively tracks all truck types across its network of 4.33m drivers and 3.55m assets, in Europe and North America. The ETA calculations leverage historical shipment data from 2.7 million shipments and integrations with over 800+ ELD/telematics providers. This data combined with real-time data helps trailer fleet managers handle their resources more effectively and profitably. (source: project44)

TIP and end-to-end supply chain visibility

TIP has partnered with project44, developer of the world’s leading Advanced Visibility Platform for shippers and logistics service providers. The partnership offers TIP customers a RTTVP for multimodal real-time visibility and predictive ETA on their freight across the supply chain.

On the technology side, partnering with project44 has been straightforward for TIP. This is due to the ease with which our transport management systems platforms can integrate multi-vendor software and our modems. The modems embedded in our trailers are well-suited to this RTTVP as they can send data every five minutes, which is high frequency in the industry and essential for real time calculation.

Thanks to our digital solutions, you can now follow your freight as it travels throughout the supply chain in real-time and consequently manage your trailer fleet more effectively and profitably. Enjoy end-to-end supply chain visibility with TIP and its partner project44.

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