Exclusive Intermodal Telematics partnership establishes Hitachi’s full digital freight monitoring service

Hitachi Rail and Intermodal Telematics (IMT) have agreed an exclusive long-term partnership that will add IMT’s pioneering monitoring sensors to Hitachi’s existing digital freight service. The agreement will allow Hitachi to offer rail freight companies around the world a solution that provides real time monitoring to improve efficiency and safety.

Netherlands based independent telematic solution provider IMT has pioneered the development of digital monitoring sensors and telematics solutions for freight wagons and containers. The sensors verify the exact location of the cars, the loading status, the open/close condition of doors and hatches, the temperature and pressure of the cargo and the health condition of bogies and wheelsets. The data is sent to the Cloud via a solar powered GPS device and allows the condition of the train and its cargo to be monitored in real time, as well as alerting operators about potential issues. The partnership allows the use of AI analytics to optimize the efficiency and safety of its customers’ freight services worldwide.

Powered by IMT, Hitachi can now provide fully-fledged telematics solutions that improve reliability and performance for the freight market. The technology can give companies the vital information they need to control their supply chains more efficiently and respond with appropriate interventions more quickly. With global supply chains having faced major disruption throughout 2021 and challenges predicted to continue, the partnership offers enhanced resilience for companies transporting goods via rail freight.

The partnership with Intermodal Telematics will complement Hitachi Rail’s purchase of Perpetuum last year. The British rail technology firm, Perpetuum, provides Hitachi with digital solutions that improve train reliability and performance. Its remote condition monitoring detects emerging damage in train bogies long before it can be identified by other means, thus preventing failures, facilitating more efficient maintenance cycles, and increasing the life of the wheels. Coupled with the IMT solution, Hitachi will now be able to completely monitor freight vehicles in real time.

Edoardo La Ficara, Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Operation, Service & Maintenance, Hitachi Rail, said:

“Hitachi Rail is focused on growing its digital offer to develop data-driven solutions to meet our customer’s complex challenges. Our exclusive partnership with IMT delivers this and enables Hitachi to provide an enhanced digital freight offer across the globe, with a strong initial focus on European and North American markets.

“This solution will enable operators and maintainers to be aware of vehicles’ position and status at all times. This will provide a radical evolution for the freight industry, whose railcars are overwhelmingly without any telematics or monitoring whatsoever.”

IMT will now exclusively offer the Perpetuum sensor solution in the freight market, which will further broaden IMT's full portfolio in asset and cargo monitoring for the international rail market. Commenting, Dethmer Drenth, Managing Director and Founder of IMT, said:

“This partnership adds a significant value to our railcar market offering as we expand our renowned assets and cargo related monitoring to specific predictive asset maintenance monitoring with the Hitachi/Perpetuum sensor. In that way we create a holistic view of the railcar above and below the axle, alerting the asset and cargo owner on a need-to-know and managing-by-exception basis.”

The integration of digital technology has a major role to play in enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, train maintenance and safety. The partnership follows the global mobility firm’s strategy of expanding its digital capabilities, including Hitachi’s Lumada platform that uses AI and the Internet of Things to turn data into actionable business insights.

The partnership’s initial focus for the new digital service will be in European and North American markets. Hitachi Rail is already an established provider to freight operators in North America, where over 34.5 million carloads and intermodal units were transported in 2021, a growth of 4.8% compared to 2020.

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