Delta Cargo will soon become the first major belly carrier to offer real-time Bluetooth tracking technology for cargo on all unit load devices (ULDs).
The US airline will offer customers real-time tracking for ULDs replacing manual tracking. Delta handles more than 500 million kilograms (500,000 tonnes) of cargo a year.
Delta first started testing Bluetooth tracking technology in 2016, and has since deployed readers to 23 locations.
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.
Real-time ULD tracking information will also allow Delta’s cargo control centre to more accurately monitor and reroute shipments that are delayed due to irregular operations, like inclement weather.
When implemented, 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 carrier to offer a fully automated solution for customer transactions.
The airline’s current GPS-enabled cargo tracking products, including a recently-announced service for highly time-sensitive shipments called Equation Critical, will continue to be available for both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft shipments traveling internationally and within the US.
Delta vice president for cargo, Shawn Cole said: “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.
“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.”