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Wal-Mart chooses GE's telematics solution for use with its over-the-Road trailer fleet

AZDEL : 23 September, 2007  (Company News)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the Trailer Fleet Services division of GE Equipment Services have announced an agreement whereby GE (NYSE:GE) will supply Wal-Mart with trailer tracking technology for its fleet of 46,000 over-the-road trailers. The announcement was made during the Truckload Carriers Association 68th convention, one of the largest annual gatherings of trucking industry executives. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Telematics is a term used in the trucking industry to describe the integration of wireless communications and sensor-generated information about freight and equipment status. GE's telematics product, called VeriWise Asset Intelligence, is a dual satellite system that enables precise and timely monitoring of trailer assets, even when they are not connected to a tractor.

'We're pleased to offer Wal-Mart this strategic solution to their global supply chain needs,' said Deborah Reif, CEO of GE Equipment Services. 'The tracking and monitoring data generated by VeriWise helps fleets increase productivity, reduce costs, and meet global security and regulatory requirements. We look forward to further developing our new relationship with Wal-Mart as we expand our asset intelligence capabilities into all major modes of the global supply chain.'

First introduced by GE, VeriWise consists of a fully protected, trailer-mounted transceiver, a discreet antenna, and a patented power management system. The system uses the Orbcomm low earth orbit satellite network, and is supported by GE's Asset Intelligence business in Barrington, Ill., with advanced research and engineering resources from GE's four global research centers. Wal-Mart will also be using two recent enhancements to VeriWise capabilities, an interior-mounted cargo sensor and a solar trickle charging system to further extend battery life.

Tim Yatsko, Wal-Mart's Senior Vice President for Transportation, noted that adding trailer tracking capability gives Wal-Mart greater supply chain visibility, and that GE's technology platform appears flexible enough to support the company's present and future plans for using telematics data.

'When our shipments are in transit, it's important for us to know at all times their whereabouts and the interior condition of the trailer and its contents,' Yatsko continued. 'GE gives us a technical solution that can be integrated across our supply chain and gives us the foundation of an information-based approach to managing it more efficiently. The solar-charging capability in VeriWise also supports our ten-year trailer maintenance requirement as well as our sustainability efforts.'

Wal-Mart used its existing trailer leasing relationship with GE's Trailer Fleet Services business to make known its trailer tracking needs. The installation of VeriWise on the Wal-Mart fleet is already well under way, and when completed this year will make the world's leading retailer GE's largest trailer telematics customer.

GE Equipment Services offers VeriWise worldwide and is developing similar asset tracking and monitoring services for the rail, container and intermodal markets.
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