What is Ocean Freight Visibility?
It’s difficult to know what could go wrong or why cargo may be delayed in the ocean freight sphere. An ocean freight visibility solution can help by offering a holistic picture of what is happening.
It does so by providing valuable, actionable insights and empowering importers, exporters, and freight forwarders to improve the efficiency of their logistics operations. By relying on the most accurate ETA predictions and actionable visibility, plus port and terminal performance and congestion insights, ocean freight companies can maximize their ROI and better serve their customers.
Understanding The Role of Container Visibility in Supply Chain Management
Possessing real-time data that covers container shipping and arrival dates streamlines the entire shipping process. Goods must be delivered on time to the port of loading and removed from the destination port in a timely manner to avoid detention and demurrage fees.
Having advanced knowledge of any delays allows the affected party to create contingency plans to avoid any unnecessary expenses or additional delays. Here are some of the ways that ocean freight visibility is used in supply chain management:
- Optimize routing and scheduling: identify the most efficient routes to avoid potential delays.
- Manage inventory levels: provide real-time information about the location and status of shipments. Organizations use this information to ensure that there is enough inventory to meet customer demand without overstocking, which gives them time to find an alternate solution if there are unavoidable delays.
- Reduce costs: avoid demurrage charges by identifying potential delays early and finding alternatives to avoid unnecessary fees.
- Improve customer service: provide accurate information about the status of shipments, which can be passed on to the customer, so they know when the shipment will arrive and can prepare for any delays.
Ocean Operation Optimization with Ocean Freight Visibility
More information and visibility into shipments enables organizations to make smarter decisions and improve their operations:
- Informed decision-making: tracking and monitoring bulk shipments in real-time keeps organizations updated regarding the progress of their cargo. The shipments are tracked from the port of loading (POL) to the port of discharge (POD), and organizations can receive updates at every stage of the transport.
- Minimize disruptions and delays: real-time updates, give businesses the ability to stay proactive and take corrective measures to minimize delays or risks.
- Geofencing: the creation of a digital representation of a port area allows automatic tracking of events within the mapped area, based on the geolocation of vessels as transmitted via AIS. It allows businesses to get real-time updates when ships enter or leave specific zones or ports.
- Actionable insights: real-time tracking and monitoring offer valuable insights to guide businesses to make smarter decisions. By analyzing the data, they can identify bottlenecks, optimize routes, and make adjustments to mitigate any losses.
Exception management is invaluable in helping shippers effectively manage disruptions. It provides real-time alerts, such as:
- ETA delay
- Unfeasible route
- Short TSP buffer
- Roll over at POL/TSP
- Late allocation
- Late departure from POL/TSP
- Transshipment delay
These alerts allow for immediate action to be taken to rectify problems, or to implement contingency plans, and maintain the flow of goods.
Whatever the reason, these exceptions can be managed through a four-step process:
- Detection: there are different ways to detect if an exception is occurring, such as real-time tracking, reports from the crew, or automated alerts from the sensors aboard the vessel.
- Analysis: understand the impact of the exception, what caused it, and what the impact will be for the buyer.
- Resolution: take the necessary steps to mitigate or prevent any losses or delays. This can include rerouting the shipment, finding a way to replace the damaged or delayed containers, or adjusting the delivery to the final destination.
- Prevention: wherever possible, use the data from the exceptions to avoid similar exceptions from occurring again.
Predicted ETA Insights
Obtaining an accurate ETA is essential for shippers and carriers, so they can coordinate with all the relevant stakeholders to remove the goods, pass them through customs, and deliver them to their final destination in a timely manner. Most ETAs are not accurate, which leads to delays in removing containers from the POD, rebooking deliveries, increased fees, and other shipping issues.
There are several reasons why ETAs are unreliable:
- No single source of information: ETAs can come from carriers, tracking providers, port operators, and customs systems. The ETAs provided by each of the bodies use a different benchmark for creating their reports. Port operators look up to six days ahead, while carriers like to publish a fast ETA to gain a competitive edge. The data is often contradictory, which leads to an inaccurate ETA.
- No industry standards define ETA: vessels can idle at the ports for several days before berthing, but there is no standard definition for arrival time.
- Time-consuming and difficult: manually checking the ETA of a container can be difficult for operators, who may oversee up to 100 shipments a month. Things get even more complicated if a transshipment is involved for some of the containers and they’re transferred to another ship. This splits the original bill of lading into two separate records, making it more difficult to keep track of everything.
Windward Ocean Freight Visibility is a highly accurate, single source of information for generating real-time ETAs. Our Maritime AI™ platform uses data from the ship, ports, weather patterns, and many other sources to calculate when a ship will arrive. It’s updated as conditions change, enabling businesses to be ready when it’s time to move containers from the port, through customs, and onto the final destination.
With robust API integration, shippers and freight forwarders can amalgamate tracking data directly into their existing systems. A seamless flow of real-time information that significantly enhances operational efficiency.
There is no longer a need to manually check multiple platforms to stay informed, with API integration. Easily streamline container tracking processes and free up valuable time and resources for other critical business operations.
Track ocean container shipments from departure to arrival, without ever having to toggle between different platforms, and receive real-time updates not just on the live location of your containers, but also on their estimated time of arrival and predicted risk of delay. This holistic picture will be available to you throughout the containers’ entire journey.
Windward’s Ocean Freight Visibility solution shines a light on supply chain and logistics processes, reducing costs, while improving efficiencies. It enables smart business decision-making, and reduces the time spent and inaccuracies stemming from manual processes.