In a move to bring white-glove asset tracking in house, Southwest Airlines has unveiled Cargo Companion, a cellular-based device that can track shipments as well as monitor temperature, humidity and other useful information. It is being targeted at shippers of high-value perishables, time-critical parts and irreplaceable items.The device, manufactured by OnAsset Intelligence, costs less than $100 per shipment, and Southwest has already seen a very positive response from customers, Wally Devereaux, director of cargo sales and marketing at Southwest, told Air Cargo World. Cargo Companion is accepted on all Southwest Airlines aircraft and can be sold either in bulk or on a case-by-case basis.“It just provides a level of information that simply has not existed before,” Devereaux said. “It’s a great solution for that high-value, time-critical, perishable, irreplaceable-type shipment.”The device is switched on before beginning transit, and shippers are sent e-mail updates throughout the journey. Once loaded onto the plane, the device is remotely deactivated when the aircraft takes off, and then switches back on when the plane touches the ground. Clients receive updated information until the shipment reaches its destination.In July, Southwest officials started allowing customers to pack their own tracking devices from OnAsset in their shipments, and this new step just brings everything together under Southwest’s control. The move makes things a lot easier, according to Devereaux. Instead of the customer having to buy the device, pay for a cellular plan, keep track of it and ship everything back to the manufacturer at the end, Southwest takes care of all the details.This level of shipment tracking seems to be an emerging trend in the industry. In the last six months, Delta and United Cargo have also agreed to accept OnAsset trackers in their shipments. DHL announced a similar service for their shipments last year. Devereaux said this focus on providing more transparency during the shipment is here to stay.“I think you will see that other carriers will move toward providing … their customers with as much information as possible, and this is just one way of doing that,” he said. “The thing that, I think, sets us apart is that we’re one of the first to put any type of product out there. We’re the first to put a transactional product out there, at least from a combination carrier standpoint.”Source: Air Cargo World
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