logstic hub at a port full of containers

An OCR scanner can help reduce cargo theft

Thomas Mörtl Zimmerer

Account Executive at Anyline

May 17, 2022

With more containers transiting and overstressed supply chains, the current situation is ideal for thieves that see cargo as easy targets.

“The backlog across all logistics infrastructure is causing containers and shipments to sit idle, not just in the ports but outside the ports, increasing opportunities for them to be targeted by criminals,” declared Ron Greene, vice president of business development at Overhaul.

For the companies shipping or forwarding containers, one way to limitate the time containers stay in ports or shipping hubs, often with little to no surveillance, is to improve how they manage and track each container. Luckily, that’s what an OCR scanner can help them achieve.

Why are containers idling that long?

Weaknesses in the existing system have been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the workforce, as well as increased demands for goods, leaving the supply chain in chaos. Only the ingenuity on the part of freight forwarders has helped to keep global shipping moving. There are currently two main reasons that explain why containers will stay longer at one place, becoming a prey of choice for thieves:

  • Staff shortages – the pandemic has created a huge job shortage around the world. And that shortage goes all the way across the supply chain, from dock workers to truck drivers and warehouse workers. Less workers means that less shipment can be moved and supply chains become congested.
  • Increase in volume – with less people being able to go to stores or preferring to stay safe at home, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous increase in online shopping. Even though people start to go back into brick-and-mortar stores, their habits have shifted and the growing part of online shopping in our lives is here to stay.

The combination of these two factors means that more containers are traveling the world while needing more time to be correctly operated, resulting in a longer idle time.

Streamlining processes to reduce idle time

A solution to prevent cargo theft could be to improve the current shipping processes. Essentially, if the job can be done quicker and more efficiently, containers wouldn’t need to sit in ports or train stations as long as they do today.

Problems often arise in shipping due to the sheer volume of transported goods and the need to enter data manually. Technologies designed to improve container logistics capacity can boost speed, efficiency, and accuracy.

Freight companies need a better way to identify containers to allow all involved parties to track them. Spending less time identifying each shipment gives freight handlers more time to move them to the right place, and allows workers to move more containers in the same amount of time.

Small changes for big results

One of the advantages of an OCR scanner is that it doesn’t require deep modifications of existing processes, nor does it require large investments. Integrating Anyline’s mobile scanning solution into existing operations is a simple process.

The technology works with any mobile device that has a camera and can even be used without Internet connectivity. Anyline’s software development kit (SDK) can be integrated into existing freight forwarding processes, removing the need for employees to manage multiple devices. The solution is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows 10 and more, and supports cross-platform integration frameworks like Xamarin, React-Native and Cordova.

Anyline’s serial number scanning solution offers robust functionality and flawless data capture, even in harsh conditions such poor lighting, odd angles, or corruption of the shipment label. The solution can be used to scan container identification and seal numbers, vehicle license plates, barcodes, and other serial numbers so logistics workforces can bring greater visibility to freight at all steps of the cargo’s journey.