Knowing the exact location of a highly valuable consignment of prescription drugs, for example, would surely make any logistics professional sleep better at night. A tracking device can be fitted to almost anything, in an open or a covert way.
While there are many, many available options and variations on a theme, there are essentially two types of trackers – passive and active.
Passive trackers use GPS location information to record their position (and possibly environmental data such as temperature and humidity) as it makes its journey. The data is logged within the tracking unit itself and is stored in internal memory or on a memory card and can be downloaded at a later date for analysis on a computer.
Active trackers provide real-time location and environmental information to a central tracking portal. This data can be viewed by the owner of the cargo and/or the tracking company employed to carry out the monitoring on behalf of its clients. When the shipment is delayed, for example by stormy weather at sea or by leaves on the railway line, the tracking data can be used to update clients with an accurate timeline.