The significance of the transportation industry has been further realized during the time of the COVID-19 health crisis. It serves as the lifeblood of countless businesses, providing the necessary materials for day-to-day operations. In particular, it is critical for the distribution of medical supplies used in healthcare’s ongoing battle against the virus.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that many transportation employees have been deemed essential, shielded against the travel and social distancing restrictions applied elsewhere. Yet as the weeks turn to months, some truck drivers have grown weary. This is not surprising, says Steve Ramescu, President at Axsun.
“The reality of the situation is that even with the importance of transportation, drivers are not immune to COVID-19 – they and their family members get sick just like the rest of us,” Ramescu explains. “They know this, and as a result, they’re becoming increasingly reluctant to travel long distances. They don’t want to risk getting sick and being stuck somewhere far away from their family.”
Ramescu estimates that in light of this, North American businesses and governments will increasingly have to rely upon railway transport, with trucks exclusively providing final-mile deliveries. It’s a field with which Axsun is intimately familiar. Although it now provides multiple services on the transportation side, Axsun is an enterprise with its roots in the railroad.
“Axsun has always been intermodal, using multiple types of transport to ensure the most efficient delivery of freight,” explains Ramescu. “However, our biggest focus is on the railroad. It’s where we originated.”
From Ramescu’s perspective, one of the most significant weaknesses of railway transport – and of intermodal transport in general – is a lack of visibility and effective asset monitoring. Given tracking technology’s prominence within the trucking industry, its absence in the intermodal space means some businesses may be reluctant to shift over to rail. They may instead accept longer delivery times and higher costs in exchange for the greater level of visibility trucking offers.
“We do business with several multinational asset providers, and they have no clue where their equipment is and what it’s doing,” says Ramescu. “That’s a problem, and not just where customer service is concerned. For us, asset tracking is a critical functionality – it improves efficiency, guards against theft, and ensures that the contractors we frequently work with aren’t utilizing our containers without our knowledge after performing deliveries.”
As a long-time BlackBerry customer, Axsun relies on BlackBerry Radar® to monitor and manage its containers and chassis. As part of a complete asset monitoring solution, BlackBerry Radar’s rugged sensors are easy to deploy, low-maintenance, and long-lasting. In addition, the BlackBerry Radar dashboard provides extensive data visualization and reporting tools, allowing Axsun to both optimize its own asset utilization and provide better analytics to its clients.
“In addition to making us a more attractive option for businesses shifting away from trucking towards intermodal transport, BlackBerry Radar is a tool that allows us to demonstrate that we go above and beyond for our clientele,” says Ramescu. “With BlackBerry Radar, we can not only monitor containers ourselves, but provide customers with real-time updates. We can ensure they know where their cargo is, when it will arrive, and – most importantly – that it’s secure.”
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