The Future of Container Logistics: how ConexBird will boost OVL Containers’ profit growth

Nicholas Gallie
Chief Operating Officer
September 1, 2021
3 min read

ConexBird has officially entered the market. After an exhaustive period of research and development followed by several field trials in container terminals and depots, ConexBird has made an agreement with OVL Containers to start delivering container insight on a commercial basis.

What does that actually mean? In this article, we’ll explore the details behind our solution for OVL, as well as provide further explanation of why this matters to OVL and to container logistics as a whole.

Background

At various sites across Europe, ConexBird’s container-analysis technology has been gathering container measurements and associated data for over a year. The thousands of container readings obtained have given our machine-learning software enough power to deliver a precise, reliable assessment of a container’s mechanical age.

ConexBird’s vibration-analysis hardware: a unique source of information on the condition of shipping containers.

It’s well-known within container logistics that containers gradually lose their strength and durability over time: furthermore, different containers seem to decay at different rates. This latter fact creates difficulties in efficiently using, repairing and managing a container fleet, since the container’s nominal age (date of manufacture) can’t always be trusted to give an accurate summary of the container’s general structural condition.

Hence the need for further insight into how durable a container actually is, as opposed to how durable it’s supposed to be. This is where ConexBird’s solution comes in: the physical nature of our solution offers a depth of insight into each container’s mechanical age that is simply unparalleled by other methods.

Details

Less durable containers are more prone to downtime, during which they cannot be used for revenue-generating activities: furthermore, they tend to incur higher repair costs during that downtime. ConexBird has modelled these trends using a large historical dataset, and correlated them with our own software-based container insight obtained at MLT Vuosaari. The result is an ability to predict each container’s actual repair costs over a certain period based on its mechanical age, as opposed to what would be expected from its nominal age.

A ConexBird container report, indicating the unit’s mechanical age and its projected one-year repair costs.

This information is delivered to OVL via container condition reports such as the above. The reports, designed in collaboration with OVL, have compiled information from multiple sources which, together, allow OVL to optimize the usage and maintenance decisions made for individual containers. "[ConexBird's] container reports will give us a completely new perspective on our containers,” said OVL founder and CEO Osmo Lahtinen. “The repair cost forecasts seem the most useful to me, since they will allow us to really get the most out of each unit."

A ConexBird fleet summary report, indicating average container strengths within the user’s fleet and comparing them to typical global levels.

ConexBird also summarizes data gathered from each user’s entire container fleet, as seen in the summary report above. The information provided through these reports offers an unprecedented window into the user’s fleet, and is invaluable for top-level decision-making for any container fleet owner — something Lahtinen can attest to: "Being able to see the condition of our whole fleet will be incredibly useful for our operations and business strategizing: it looks like the insight we get from these summary reports will give our business a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded container marketplace."

Future

The services ConexBird can now provide are expected to have a game-changing impact on OVL’s container operations, as explained by OsmoLahtinen himself: “We can already see that [ConexBird’s] data will provide us with the visibility we need into the durability of our containers, and it will allow us to get the most out of our fleet and help us reduce repair costs.”

However, this does not mean ConexBird’s product creators consider these services to be the “end of the road”: far from it. In fact, significant additions and improvements are already in the pipeline, with similarly useful information expected soon on container grading, availability and the immediate presence of damage.

Together with the success already achieved so far alongside OVL, the delivery of these features will further promote ConexBird’s mission of making container logistics faster, smarter and greener. The beginning of ConexBird’s commercial implementation through OVL is a promising demonstration of the market readiness needed to bring this vision to life. In the words of ConexBird’s founder and CEO Teuvo Heikkilä: “We are very pleased to be working with [OVL] to show the world what can be done with our solution. ConexBird’s mission is to make container logistics faster, smarter and greener, and together with [OVL] we will be taking a big step in that direction.”


Nicholas Gallie is ConexBird's Chief Operating Officer, and is focused on maximizing ConexBird's potential to transform container logistics by delivering tailored solutions to stakeholders across the intermodal supply chain.

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