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Vessel Tracking

What is Vessel Tracking?

Vessel tracking is the ability to detect, identify, and monitor a ship’s location, and map the full details of the entire route. GPS pinpoints a vessel’s location, which is essential for tracking bad actors, and for the ship to navigate. Other systems, such as the ship’s automatic identification system (AIS) transponders, incorporate the GPS and transmit information, including the ship’s position, identification number, draft, and accompanying details. 

The concept of “ship position” has evolved from a static coordinate on a map to an invaluable data point in a complex, inter-connected system of maritime security, global logistics and supply chain management. The real-time tracking of ship positions allows for dynamic route adjustments, effective contingency planning, and even the avoidance of extra costs, such as detention and demurrage fees. Understanding a ship’s position is a key aspect of vessel tracking that enhances operational value.

According to Marine Insight, a vessel tracking system is a collection of equipment that enables marine and naval vessels to track, identify, and monitor a ship’s position, location and other necessary details. This can be used to know when ocean freight containers will arrive, which ports may be congested and which route is optimal, etc.

4 Benefits of Maritime AI™-Powered Vessel Tracking

Vessel tracking offers a multitude of benefits for the ocean freight logistics and supply chain industry. Here are some of the primary advantages:

  1. Improved, actionable visibility: vessel tracking enables real-time visibility into a ship’s position. This level of transparency allows businesses to know the status and position of their goods, leading to better decision-making. With up-to-date knowledge of where a vessel is, companies can anticipate arrivals and plan their logistics accordingly. This can reduce waiting times at ports, streamline cargo transfers, and enhance overall supply chain efficiency.
  1. Proactive planning: using predictive analysis based on vessel tracking data and historical trends, companies can predict potential delays and disruptions, allowing for proactive planning and resource allocation.
  1. Improved customer service: real-time tracking data can be shared with customers, keeping them informed about the whereabouts of their goods. This can enhance trust and foster stronger business relationships.
  1. Reduced demurrage and detention charges: by having an accurate ETA for vessels, importers and exporters can plan container pick-ups and returns more efficiently, avoiding additional charges due to delays.
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Vessel tracking and the supply chain

One container journey is often carried out by multiple vessels. Vessel tracking is crucial to track where the vessel (or vessels) are and to monitor the container from its port of loading (POL) to the final port of discharge (POD). For example, container X can leave its 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. There could even be one or two more intermediate ports in more complex scenarios.

The complexities of the supply chain, like the rise in port congestion, vessel tracking, container tracking, and ensuring visibility on the ocean leg of the supply chain, have never been more critical. With many dynamic changes and unknowns, the more organizations know and can see, the easier it is to deal with any setbacks that may arise and more importantly, to act strategically and proactively. With an ocean vessel tracking system, this is possible, showing real-time updates of your containers’ journeys.