Container tracking software is a system that uses technology to monitor the location and status of shipping containers throughout their journeys. This software is a critical component of supply chain and logistics management for companies involved in international shipping and trade. It is used by shippers, consignees, freight forwarders, and other logistics stakeholders to track the movement of their cargo and ensure that it arrives on time and in good condition.
Why Container Tracking Software is Important
The modern shipping container was designed in 1956 and the first ships designed to carry those containers held 226 containers. Today’s largest ships, by contrast, have the capacity to carry over 24,000 containers. The explosion in maritime shipping, coupled with the high volume of containers, necessitated a tracking system to manage all the containers.
Every container that is shipped has a tracking number. Originally, tracking containers was a manual task, which involved reviewing shipping documentation. As ship capacity increased, manual tracking was no longer viable. Today’s “manual” searches rely on shippers visiting the carrier’s websites and searching for shipments using the carrier’s internal systems.
While these systems provide basic container location information, they don’t offer real-time updates, predictive intelligence, or actionable insights in the event of potential delays.
In recent years, we’ve seen the development of advanced container tracking software. These systems enrich the data coming from the carriers, for enhanced location visibility, customs data, vessel tracking, real-time ETAs, and more.
This technology delivers a number of benefits to the stakeholders, including:
- Anticipate delays via predictive intelligence: the system uses machine learning and deep learning models to enable real-time data processing for proactive decision-making. It predicts future events by factoring in things like ship speed, port congestion, trends, and weather conditions, enabling users to anticipate delays or disruptions and develop alternate plans
- Reduce risk: it alerts users to any deviations in the container’s expected location caused by unexpected delays, diversions, loss, or theft
- Improve customer service: customers receive real-time status updates on their shipments, helping build trust and loyalty with their carriers
Shipping Container Tracking Software Use Cases
- Container milestone tracking with AI: shipping often lacks transparency, leaving freight forwarders and shippers in the dark about key milestones, such as arrival and departure times (ATA and ATD). AI-powered container tracking software brings clarity by offering real-time visibility into these milestones. This includes knowing precisely when shipments can be handed over, optimizing resource allocation for land transportation and warehousing, and ensuring accurate tracking of critical dates to avoid costly fees. By reducing reliance on unreliable information sources, this technology minimizes human errors and provides reliable, up-to-date tracking data.
- Navigating transshipment challenges: transshipment situations can be complicated and are often prone to delays, leading to uncertainties for freight forwarders, importers, and exporters. Real-time container tracking is essential in such scenarios. It helps organizations identify and understand issues such as rollovers and short transshipment buffers. Armed with this knowledge, organizations can take immediate action to mitigate delays and maintain smooth operations throughout the container journey.
- Real-time delay reasons: provides insights into the reasons behind delays. This eliminates the need for extensive detective work and provides clear visibility into the entire container journey. With this solution, businesses can communicate effectively with customers, set accurate expectations, and take proactive measures to address delays. An Ocean Freight Visibility platform integrates container tracking software seamlessly into existing workflows, making monitoring straightforward and effective.
Benefits of AI-Powered Container Tracking Software
Advanced Maritime AI™ technology uses deep learning and machine learning models for container tracking. It gives all relevant stakeholders access to real-time visibility into the location, status, and condition of shipping containers.
This level of detail empowers freight forwarders and shippers to monitor container movements closely and make data-driven decisions. It provides actionable data that will streamline operational efficiency, resulting in significant cost savings. Knowing the exact whereabouts and status of containers enables the avoidance of delays and reduces unnecessary costs, such as detention and demurrage charges.
Another area where AI-powered container tracking excels is exception management. When overseeing a large volume of shipments, it can be overwhelming to manually track thousands of containers. Exception management capabilities in Maritime AI™ solutions filter through all your shipments, highlighting the ones that are significantly late, or early. This allows you to concentrate on the critical exceptions that need urgent attention, thus streamlining the process.
Container tracking offers optimized inventory management by providing end-to-end visibility of the supply chain from the point of origin to the final destination. This level of oversight allows shippers to better manage their inventory levels, ultimately leading to more streamlined and efficient supply chain logistics and operations.
Lastly, customer satisfaction sees a significant boost when you employ container tracking technology. Freight forwarders and shippers can offer their customers accurate and timely information about the location and status of their shipments. In today’s competitive market, such transparency and reliability can dramatically improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.