Oct 25

Back to Blog

The Risks of Shipping Ocean Containers with Poor Tracking and Visibility

4 minute read
Brian Kempisty
The Risks of Shipping Ocean Containers with Poor Tracking and Visibility Featured Image

Timing means everything in the logistics industry, especially concerning containerized freight shipping across the globe. Maritime freight totals an estimated 80% of all global shipping volume. That number has increased drastically due to the global pandemic, as consumer preferences have shifted in favor of e-commerce. This shift has fueled a surge in online orders, leading to shortages in equipment such as containers, chassis and massive port gridlock. The coronavirus ravaged entire industries. The worker shortages that plagued the freight forwarding and transportation industry sparked an interest in many companies to search for technological solutions to help them optimize their supply chains. Tech was also used to help support a growing volume of customer orders and help logistics companies manage freight with a limited staff.

During this peak shipping season, shippers and global manufacturers will depend on their freight forwarders to deliver their containerized freight on time. Some companies offer tracking technologies that allow shippers to gain visibility on their live shipments. Yet, there is still a reluctance to invest in new technologies like digital freight management programs. Instead, most companies rely on traditional systems requiring manual data entry to fulfill customer requests. This method has proven to be reliable for many freight forwarders. However, suppose the past couple of years have taught us anything. In that case, port congestion, increased ship dwell time, driver and equipment shortages, and external trade disruptions can all negatively impact supply chains and cause significant shipping delays. There has been increased demand, therefore, for forwarders to provide ocean tracking and reliable tracking through the port and toward the load’s final destination.

This is where even tech-enabled forwarders often fail their customers because they only provide milestone updates and not accurate real-time locations.  To gain more control over their logistics, global shippers are turning to forwarders with real-time tracking visibility and an online platform that gives companies total insight into their freight.  

Why is Real Time Container Tracking Important in Ocean Freight Management?

Tracking is a critically important operational task that every freight forwarder depends on to manage the movements of their containerized freight. Now more than ever, shipping managers look for transportation partners that provide a tracking system, whether an online portal or automatic reply that notifies shippers that their freight has been picked up or dropped off at the receiver. Real-time tracking greatly reduces the time spent sending emails and calling for updates on the container — the technology functions as a support mechanism that streamlines communication and data into an easy-to-use interface. For example, details of an order, such as a PO or container number, invoice, carrier information, and event updates, are collected and viewed in a searchable database. Instead of having to depend on bloated email servers, spreadsheets, or internal TMS, the data is centralized, providing shipping managers with a range of benefits to quickly identify specific loads without tracking down information across platforms. The real benefit for global shippers is that they are always in the know regarding freight updates, delays, or successful OTIF deliveries.

What are the Risks of not having Container Visibility?

Global manufacturers and shippers have their own unique shipping expectations. And whether or not they are moving perishable commodities or time-sensitive freight, most shippers have a sense of urgency to get their orders delivered on time. When it comes to container tracking, if a freight forwarder lacks visibility on their shipments, there are many challenges that can occur in transport. You are probably aware of what could go wrong, but a delayed container shipment at a port could disrupt the arranged port drayage carrier that was scheduled to pick up the container. Miscommunication between your carrier partner may cause delays and unwanted demurrage or detention fees, adding to transloading and storage costs once the container finally makes its way off the vessel. Once the container is picked up, potentially, many additional freight expenses are added to the original bill. These delays have become so commonplace in the past couple of years that transportation providers often incorporate these fees into their rates before the load has even been moved. On the other hand, forwarders that provide real-time visibility mitigate the risks involved in blind shipments, offering shippers technology that gives them control over their ocean containers.

Benefits that Real-Time Container Tracking Provides Shippers

Shippers expect to know where their freight containers are located, and modern software empowers companies to gain real-time tracking solutions on their supply chain. Shipping companies will ultimately save costs when they know precisely when their loads will dock. Tracking technology allows transportation providers to arrange drayage carriers to pick up loads without delays. It also helps freight forwarders lower transportation expenditures by reducing detention and demurrage fees.

Real-time tracking solutions also help improve the freight forwarder-shipper relationship, as it streamlines communication between carrier partners and provides customers with up-to-the-minute details about their shipments. 

Take Control of your Supply Chain with Port X Logistics

Shippers that are looking for help expediting their containerized freight turn to transportation companies that combine industry experience, reliable service, and a steady capacity of trucks to U.S. and Canadian ports. That’s why Port X Logistics is the no-hassle solution for companies shipping to North America. Port X Logistics is able to source dedicated capacity at any major port with its own fleet of assets and a network of national carriers. Port X Logistics also offers technology that empowers shippers to gain real-time visibility on every single container. Whether it’s drayage, transloading, or project management, Port X Logistics has you covered. Don’t remain in the dark on your containerized freight. Chat with an expert at Port X Logistics today!

Brian Kempisty