Delta is rolling out tracking devices for its ULDs making it the first U.S. passenger airline to provide, real-time tracking for unit load devices (ULDs). The tracking technology allows Delta to track shipments down to the ULD-level, which gives customers increased visibility into their shipments.
For decades, ULDs were an afterthought, however as demand for visibility has increased, so-called ‘smart-ULDs’ are allowing carriers to monitor and reroute shipments that are delayed due to irregular events, such as inclement weather.
ULD-level tracking fits into the Atlanta-based carrier’s push to digitize its cargo operations. Last year, Delta opened its Cargo Control Center, where staff monitor flights and cargo movement in real time.
“Our customers have told us they want improved tracking and immediate transparency for ULD shipments, and this best-in-class product will deliver exactly that,” said Shawn Cole, vice president at Delta Cargo. “Our innovative tracking technology, in conjunction with our 24/7 cargo control center, gives us the competitive edge when it comes to serving our customers.”
The new tracking system will also enable Delta to produce electronic unit control receipts, which is required by the International Air Transport Association when ULDs are transferred between parties – making Delta the first airline to offer a fully automated solution for customer transactions.
Delta says it was the first major airline to test Bluetooth tracking technology, beginning in 2016. The carrier has now deployed readers to 23 locations in preparation for launch. By the end of 2018, the tracking system will be available on all of Delta’s ULDs, with more than 1,400 readers tracking customer shipments at more than 200 airports across six continents.