Ocean Transporter Offers Wireless Tracing Service

FRAMINGHAM (04/04/2000) - American President Lines Inc. has introduced a wireless container tracing service for customers to determine the location of their shipments on the high seas.

The new APL wireless service will allow customers to use keypads on data-ready cell phones to key in a container or bill-of-lading number into the APL wireless Web site. The APL service responds by indicating when the shipment left its origin port, when it arrived at its destination port or where it is located at the moment.

Oakland, Calif.-based APL, which first introduced wired Web container tracking in 1996, kicked off a pilot of the wireless service last week that was driven, in part, by the increasingly widespread use of Wireless Application Protocol cell phones in Europe and Asia. Hans Hickler, APL's senior vice president for information strategy and customer support in Singapore, said "wireless access to critical shipment status information while off-site or traveling offers new flexibility in controlling the global supply chain."

Wireless access to information in Europe and Asia has already leapfrogged online, PC-based systems, said Hickler, adding "the Americas will not be far behind."

Hickler said APL is interested in developing collaborative marketing programs with manufacturers of wireless devices, either on a global or regional basis.

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