Masterpiece International: In-Transit Visibility for Fine Art Clients

February 5, 2024


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Masterpiece International Curates In-Transit Visibility for Fine Art Clients with Tive

Masterpiece International knows a thing or two about shipping priceless works of art — they move fragile, high-value artwork worldwide. The provider of premier logistics solutions serves museums, collectors, galleries, and private clients. From coordination to packing to transport, Masterpiece utilizes a massive global network to ensure shipments move on time and in full.

Masterpiece International believes that all clients deserve exceptional, personalized service. The company carefully curates its services to meet every customer's bespoke shipping needs. Every detail is important. Every shipment is treated as a masterpiece! 


A New Challenge Calls for a New Level of Visibility

Fine art shipping is a unique business. The logistics are complex, and the risks are high: shipments tend to be fragile and often have immense cultural significance. As such, temperature, humidity, light, shock, and security must be actively managed, alongside precise arrival times for highly coordinated installations.

Masterpiece International has long provided best-in-class customer service to clients, serving as a true partner in their supply chain. So when the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted both the art and logistics worlds, the company went into immediate action to meet clients' changing needs. 

"Normally, a fine art shipment travels with a courier from each museum - a dedicated person stays with the piece through every step of its transport from point A to point B," said Tina Sullivan, Vice President of Fine Arts for Masterpiece's Western Region. "The pandemic complicated this practice with travel bans, import and export restrictions, and an overwhelming hesitancy from museums to put their people at risk."

In search of a way to have visibility into shipments without a courier during this unprecedented time, Masterpiece began exploring in-transit visibility solutions. With the availability of high-tech solutions capable of providing hyper-accurate location and condition insights in real-time, the company saw an opportunity to keep high-value art moving without human accompaniment and continue to meet client expectations. 


When Every Shipment is a Masterpiece, Every Shipment Matters

Masterpiece's hunt for an in-transit visibility solution brought them to Tive. After testing trackers from multiple companies, they determined Tive - as well as the Tive belief that "every shipment matters" - was a great fit for both their company and their clients.

"We love Tive. We looked at others, we've used others, and we much prefer Tive. And the disposable aspect of the trackers is really appealing - you can spend weeks trying to get devices back, and with other companies, it gets costly. The Tive team has a willingness to listen and to help us with challenges that are unique to our industry.”

Tive Trackers Add Value, Revenue, and Competitive Advantage

In late spring 2020, Masterpiece began using Tive to accompany some fine art shipments instead of couriers. They currently use Tive's Flagship tracker and the Solo 5G, depending on shipment requirements. Masterpiece uses the Tive's precise location tracking capabilities and real-time conditions tracking - temperature, humidity, light, and shock - to actively manage these high-value shipments.

"The trackers have been well-received among museum clients, who are now more amenable to the tech solution than they have been in the past. With courier costs among the most expensive aspects of shipping fine art, Tive provides significant cost savings," Sullivan said. "It's a value-added service that our clients really like."


Masterpiece Predicts Trackers Will Gain Traction 

While tech advances are not new to the fine art shipping industry (some high-tech transport cases have built-in shock monitors and tracking devices), the idea of replacing or augmenting in-transit couriers is novel. 

"This (Tive) is definitely something new for our industry," Sullivan said, noting that only one exhibition during her past 20 years had previously required a tracker. "It's getting a lot of attention!"

The pandemic-era need for fine art shipment trackers may evolve into a new industry standard post-pandemic. "Having a courier and a tracker will not be mutually exclusive for museums in the future," said Sullivan. "They're going to be doing both, and we're banking on the Tive."

Masterpiece recently expanded offerings of Tive shipment trackers to clients beyond their fine art division as well, including their general freight department. "We've used one on an ocean shipment for wine. And we just sent five to China for a client," said Sullivan, who added that they're also introducing Tive trackers to their sister company TrumpCard, which provides expedited air freight.