When the Galaxy IV satellite, operated by PanAmSat of Greenwich, Connecticut, spun out of control last week, DAT Services, the load matching company, lost its satellite communications. Based in Beaverton, Oregon, DAT Services boasts the nation’s largest database of freight loads for subscribers.
“We have several delivery vehicles for the freight matching service,” said DAT’s Kimarie Wolf. “One of the delivery vehicles is satellite-based.”
Loss of satellite communications through Galaxy IV mainly affected brokers and carriers who rely on the satellite link for continual load and equipment updates. Wolf would not say how many DAT customers have been affected by the satellite failure, but said the number was “in the thousands.”
However, according to Wolf, customers have been able to use alternate means to send and receive information. “We have several delivery mechanisms so we don’t only have the satellite delivery, we also have modem and we have voice or fax delivery.”
Customers, she said, could still post loads and trucks through modem connections. “They can still do the postings and get the updates in that way. It’s just getting the information back, we had to change that method for them,” she said.
Wolf said PanAmSat is switching to backup satellites now moving into position. To get back online, DAT customers may have to realign their satellite dishes toward the replacement satellites.
“We’re having our customers make that adjustment — a slight adjustment — with their satellite dish. It’s a 4 degree change that results in about a one-inch movement.”
The reorientation is relatively simple and does not require a technical background, Wolf said. “We are going to be putting instructions on our web site. We are telling them they can certainly refer to that. We’re going to try to get them some graphics so they can see how to do it.”
DAT’s website at http://www.dat.com, contains up-to-the-minute news on the satellite problem.