Demand for trailer tracking services is exceeding that of ocean containers, largely due to the fragmented “chain of custody” containers move through, according to a recent study.

Oyster Bay, NY-based ABI Research reported that, over the past few years, growing attention has been devoted to mobile-asset tracking, specifically focused on trailer and container tracking. Though similar market requirements and consumer demands exist for containers and trailers – theft prevention, asset utilization, and specific sensor functionalities such as temperature and shock monitoring – demand from the trailer segment is growing the fastest.

“Despite their similarities, the market for trailer tracking now represents a growing and significant portion of commercial telematics, whereas container tracking is still in its nascent stages,” said ABI Research analyst David Schrier.

“There are two key differences between container and trailer tracking: containers are typically used in international trade, while trailers are usually domestically transported. Containers are therefore subject to greater governmental regulation, and, quite frankly, the U.S government and other nations have been dragging their feet in this area,” said Schrier. “Second, the custody chain in containers is much more fragmented than with trailers, and no party wants to bear the burden of the increased cost.”

He also noted that so-called “hybrid” trailer tracking solutions using both radio frequency identification (RFID) and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS) are becoming more popular, particularly in the United Kingdom. Three North American suppliers—Qualcomm, SkyBitz and Terion— continue to gain trailer tracking customers by rolling out new feature-rich products that turn an increasingly evident return on investment (ROI), Schrier added.