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Highway Transport advances cargo management

Oct. 4, 2021
With ThermoTrack, carriers can accurately monitor temperatures, locations of liquid bulk loads in real time

The ability to accurately monitor cargo temperatures is a key requirement for product safety and quality assurance with temperature-sensitive liquid cargoes.

That’s why Highway Transport places a high priority on temperature management.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based bulk chemical transporter, recently named a 2021 Responsible Care Partner of the Year by the American Chemistry Council, now upholds its commitment to the safety and integrity of its temperature-sensitive loads by constantly monitoring the temperature and location of its tank trailers, and recording any unsafe delivery conditions, to provide the best protection of its customers’ shipments.

“One of the services we sell to our customers is real-time tracking and temperature monitoring for temperature-sensitive loads,” said Andy Schultz, Highway Transport’s director of network optimization and field technology. “It’s important to them as manufacturers and shippers of products to keep tabs on the location of their cargo, and whether or not it’s within the temperature range requested by their customers.

“So the ability to track temperature and location is important because it gives them the assurance of knowing their transportation is being handled adequately and professionally by the carrier they contract with.  So it’s definitely a value add for them, and because we can deliver it, it’s a value add for us as well.”

To bolster that critical effort, Highway Transport recently enhanced its MyHighway Customer Portal to deliver live updates on cargo location and temperature 24 hours a day, with updates occurring as frequently as every 15 minutes.

Highway Transport previously utilized standard analog thermometers, but that practice required truck drivers to stop their vehicles, get out, and manually read the temperatures, then report that information back to the office. Now the carrier utilizes Anytrek’s ThermoTrack, which replaces the analog thermometers in its fleet of 700 tank trailers with technology specifically designed for tankers, allowing the company to monitor both temperature and location, and deliver updates in real-time via the 4G spectrum.

“Anytrek’s ThermoTrack digital tanker thermometer provides a unique opportunity for clients to view their temperature-sensitive loads while in transit,” said Lawrence Stocker, Anytrek’s senior vice president for business development. “For tanker fleet operators, ThermoTrack provides powerful leverage to obtain new business and a major competitive advantage.”

Highway Transport chose ThermoTrack for these reasons:

  • It is the only solar-powered digital tanker thermometer that requires no extra wiring to connect to power supplies or sensors, making it "intrinsically safe" for hazmat haulers    
  • Installation is simple because ThermoTrack is designed to directly replace the analog thermometer without any modifications or wiring
  • A powerful tracking portal and simple, secure integration with existing TMS platforms   
  • ThermoTrack is a complete system

Unlike other products, which usually have a main unit and wired/wireless sensors that require separate installation and wiring, ThermoTrack delivers an all-in-one solution.

It contains an integrated temperature sensor, GPS module, 4G cellular modem, power control module, rechargeable battery, and a solar panel for recharging the battery, and a LCD display to show the temperature. The solar panel has been designed to allow for the battery to be recharged even with indirect sunlight. And the large capacity of the built-in battery can guarantee more than 60 days of reporting even without sunshine. ThermoTrack connects to the inner tank via a standard lug and cable or a thermal well probe.

“Thermotrack is exclusively the means by which we’re able to provide critical information about temperature and location,” said Schultz, adding that ThermoTrack's design aligns with Highway Transport's safety-first environment. “In the past, we were able to provide GPS tracking of the tractor, but customers really want to know where their product is, and it’s on the trailer. Just because we can give them a position on the tractor doesn’t necessarily mean the tractor and trailer are hooked up together.

“Now that the tracking device is on the trailer, they know that’s where their product is, and so they can be certain about where their cargo is at any given time.”

ThermoTrack also provides a powerful tracking portal, and simple, secure integration with existing transportation management system (TMS) platforms.

AnyFleet is the tracking platform. The portal boasts everything needed to track the location and temperature of a tanker fleet, including real-time mapping, breadcrumb trails, speed curve, and temperature curve. It can be configured with different notifications for geofence violations, over speed alerts, and temperature out-of-range alerts. The portal also provides the ability to share a read-only view with customers to enable them to see in real-time the location and temperature of their cargo, all the way from pre-wash to unloading, providing them with the information they normally would have to call for.

AnyFleet works with PULL and PUSH APIs, using industry standards to interface with third-party TMS systems. Using the data pushed from the AnyFleet server, Highway Transport added real-time tracking of its loads in transit to its MyHighway Customer Portal.

“Simple, straightforward installation and self-sufficiency were the main concerns I had in the design of ThermoTrack,” said Dr. Noam Zeng, designer of ThermoTrack. “There are many telematics systems in the market, however, the complicated installation and ongoing maintenance are pain points that make tanker fleet operators hesitate.

“ThermoTrack is a simple direct replacement of the existing analog thermometer. Pull out the existing thermometer, install ThermoTrack in the same opening, and that’s it—you’re tracking.”

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BT staff