What is Container Tracking?
“Container tracking” has many meanings and applications across the logistics/supply chain industry, often depending on which person or organization you are speaking with. It can refer to rudimentary, manual efforts to track containers, and go all the way up to a comprehensive, AI-powered solution for shippers and freight forwarders to track and monitor their shipments as they move through the supply chain. Sophisticated container tracking technology has various benefits, including reduced late fees and penalties – most notably detention and demurrage charges – offering clarity on delays, and opening up more time to serve customers. Automating mundane tasks and optimizing planning will also lead to cost savings.
How Container Tracking Works
Advanced container tracking using Maritime AI™ technology leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms that collect and analyze vast amounts of data from various sources. These include satellite imagery, weather patterns, and port data, to provide real-time visibility into container movements. This generates the most accurate ETA predictions for the entire global fleet of container vessels.
Advantages of Automated Sea Container Tracking
With millions of containers transporting billions of dollars worth of cargo around the world, tracking containers is a necessity. There are many advantages of automating ocean freight tracking, which will streamline the entire shipping process.
- Real-time visibility: track the exact locations of your containers and easily monitor the status of your shipments. This capability is even more vital when dealing with transshipments, as the container is unloaded at multiple ports and reloaded onto different vessels.
- Improved supply chain efficiency: container tracking systems offer actionable insights into inventory location, advanced knowledge of delays or early arrivals, and enable inventory management to make informed decisions. By identifying supply chain issues like port bottlenecks and inefficiencies, container tracking allows businesses to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, resulting in smoother operations.
- Exception management saves you time: eliminate manual tasks, such as phone calls and waiting on hold, while a logistics manager looks for your container’s location. Container tracking that utilizes a Maritime AI™ solution can automate notifications using exception management, so that you can concentrate on the containers that are going to arrive critically late or early.
- Reduce shipping costs and avoid fees: optimize your routes, avoid congested ports, and improve the accuracy of your ETA with a container tracking system that uses Maritime AI™ technology. Having a real-time and accurate ETA can assist in reducing avoidable detention and demurrage charges.
Tracking Container Milestones with AI
Freight forwarders and shippers often struggle to gain full visibility of their shipments. The actual time of arrival (ATA) and actual time of departure (ATD) are the most critical and least reported milestones. Carrier updates can be delayed by several days, causing unnecessary demurrage fees as a result.
Containers pass through multiple milestones during a standard container journey. For example, both the importer and exporter need to know when a container has been loaded at the port of loading (POL) and if there is a freight on board (FOB) agreement. This is the point when the official cargo handover takes place, and the shipper receives payment.
Receive much-needed value from an AI-powered container tracking system that provides full visibility of milestones:
- Knowing when the shipper can hand over the responsibility of the shipment to the importer and when the cargo is loaded on board. This is the point where the shipper gets paid and obviously wants to receive the money ASAP.
- Better management of land transportation and warehouse staffing by knowing when the container was loaded onto a vessel at the transshipment port, and when it was discharged at the POD, freeing up personnel for more critical tasks and knowing when/how to scale.
- Keeping track of critical dates, such as ATA and ATD, to validate late fee invoices – instead of wasting money on inaccurate detention and demurrage charges.
- Minimize human error and get real-time updates, so that shippers and freight forwarders don’t need to rely on other inaccurate sources.