Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms

What is a real-time transportation visibility platform?

Real-time visibility is essential for live tracking a shipment through its complete lifecycle. It accounts for numerous issues that can affect the estimated time of arrival (ETA), such as weather delays, customs issues, and traffic. 

A real-time transportation visibility platform provides these updates. It collects data from the entire supply chain, including the ship’s GPS and telematics hardware, port operators, customs systems, and more. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology consolidate and refine the sea of data, making it accessible and easily digestible in a centralized location. This empowers relevant stakeholders to obtain real-time updates and accurate ETAs. 

What is the difference between AI, machine learning and deep learning

“Artificial intelligence (AI) broadly refers to a machine or system displaying and mimicking human-like behavior, such as learning and problem-solving. Machine learning is a subset of AI, and deep learning is a subset of machine learning. Both machine learning and deep learning use AI algorithms to make predictions or classifications using input data.”

Why you need real-time visibility?

Traditional methods used by shippers to send status updates are hampered by blind spots and partial information. The data is only relayed to the client when the shipping container reaches specific milestones. Additionally, the ETA provided by the vessel is not reliable because, among other reasons, it’s in the ship’s best interest to provide an optimistic arrival time, not necessarily an accurate one. 

With real-time visibility, you can better manage your supply chain and see when and where bottlenecks occur. This allows you to be proactive instead of reactive when talking with customers or stakeholders about the shipment’s status.

Some of the questions that real-time transportation visibility platforms answers are:

  • Is this the best route to take?
  • Did the ship leave the port yet?
  • Are there unforeseen delays?
  • What is the exact location of the ship?
  • What is the ETA for the ship to arrive at the port?
  • Is the ship docked in the port?

While it is impossible to prevent some delays in the supply chain, having a platform that can recognize delays in real-time will help everyone involved prevent problems further down the line and receive accurate ETAs.  

The advantages of real-time transportation visibility platforms

Having access to up-to-the-minute data and predictive analysis of the shipping container is a major advantage for any shipper. In addition to the customer service and stakeholder benefits mentioned above, there are some significant benefits from real-time transportation visibility: 

  • Instant access to real-time data: the real-time visibility platform collects data from multiple sources. This includes the ship’s GPS, the Captain’s ETA, and data from the Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) transponders. With all this data, shippers can provide accurate updates and a reliable timeline for all relevant stakeholders. 
  • Detects delays: the sensitive tracking technology detects delays at border control, an issue onboard the ship, or a bottleneck while unloading and reloading containers. By understanding what causes the slowdowns and delays, shippers can choose to work with different ships, or adjust the route to avoid the bottleneck.  
  • Avoid problematic ports: countries have different policies and manpower when it comes to inspecting shipping containers. Live data helps decide which ports to dock at and which to avoid.  
  • Open communication with multiple shippers: when a container has to go through multiple shipping companies (transshipments), real-time data can save everyone time and money. The data is used to improve logistics, handoffs, communications, and more.

Streamline shipping with real-time visibility 

Implementing a solution that combines maritime expertise and cutting-edge AI technology enables greater transparency into the supply chain, with automated workflows. As explained in our previous blogpost, “Without maritime experts and expertise, such solutions simply cannot provide the level of accuracy and consistency that is so challenging to reach. The main reason for this is that the ocean is such a complex landscape, in which a multitude of factors can affect a voyage from point A to point B, including human factors, force majeure, technical issues, unions, regulations, and many more. AI models must be trained and supervised by maritime industry experts who intimately understand the intricate nature of the ecosystem.”

With real-time visibility, you can track your container on its journey from port of loading (PoL) to its final port of destination (PoD), including transshipments along the way. “In a classic transshipment scenario, container X will leave the original PoL on vessel A, travel to a transshipment port, be discharged from vessel A, and be loaded onto vessel B, which will transport it to the final PoD. During more complicated scenarios, there could even be one or two more intermediate ports.”

When manual processes are automated, it reduces costs and saves time. Resources can then be reallocated to other important tasks like customer service and support. This leads to both happy employees and happy customers. 

Additional benefits of a real-time visibility platform:

  1. Real-time alerts: send real-time alerts and updates regarding any delays. You can compare this data with the information that your shipping carriers provide, to see that AI significantly increases accuracy. 
  2. Reduce demurrage charges: staying ahead of any unexpected delays will allow you to search for an alternate solution or arrangement, and avoid unnecessary charges.
  3. Improved communication: having actionable data regarding your shipping containers allows you to communicate more effectively with clients. The data can generate accurate predictions up to 10 days before the arrival. So, you can alert customers to any delays and speak with the carrier to try and avoid unnecessary disruptions. 
  4. Save money: real-time Maritime AI™ data helps prevent fees and unhappy customers, and reduces the costs of tracking the freight.

A real-time transportation platform like Windward Ocean Freight Visibility empowers importers, exporters, and freight forwarders to dramatically improve the efficiency of their logistics operations. By relying on the most accurate ETA predictions, real-time visibility, plus port and terminal performance and congestion insights, you can maximize your ROI and better serve your customers.