Gain instant visibility to your terminals with OpenTrack Port Performance: 

Beyond the Sea: Ocean Container Tracking for Unparalleled Port Performance

April 16, 2024

In a volatile global logistics landscape, accurate assessment of container performance through ocean container tracking has become an essential component of supply chain optimization strategies. The ability to ascertain, at a moment's glance, the precise location of a container has allowed businesses to build unparalleled supply chain resilience and has allowed growth-minded companies to assess the performance of transportation partners better and ensure improvements in future performance.

Despite the importance of ocean container tracking, these developments have sometimes become siloed. Often, businesses emphasize the ability to discern container location during transit but neglect to build the same level of visibility once the container reaches its destination port. This leaves businesses vulnerable to a wide range of port disruptions and can create significant blind spots related to demurrage and detention, drayage, and intermodal transportation. In this article, we’re looking at the role of ocean container tracking in addressing blind spots and improving port performance.

The Significance of Port Performance in a Volatile Supply Chain

Ports are more than staging areas: instead, ports act as a vital linchpin in the global supply chain. At ports, businesses look to change modalities to ensure maximum delivery efficiency. While intermodal transportation plays a key role in the transportation of containerized freight, it poses several challenges and potential cost-centers for businesses.

Port Congestion

While the phrase ‘port congestion’ readily conjures images from the COVID-19 pandemic, when record-setting congestion at U.S. ports created massive supply chain disruptions, port congestion remains an all-too-present concern for the global supply chain. As the supply chain recovers from the doldrum of the post-COVID freight recession, many experts expect to see significant congestion in 2024. One supply chain expert, Bryn Heimbeck, told World Trade Online that he expects U.S. ports to see congestion rivaling even the levels seen in 2020, a worrying prediction for businesses and consumers alike.

Vessel Delays

If 2024 has been anything, it has been the year of vessel delays. Major disruptions at two of the world’s most vital canals–the Panama and the Suez–have forced vessels to undertake previously unthinkable alternative routes, effectively thrusting the transportation industry back into a global trade map that predates the 1859 construction of the Suez Canal. Ultimately, vessel delays result in unpredictable port conditions. As vessels are rerouted and consequently delayed, port operators and businesses are forced to adapt to dynamic port conditions quickly. These dynamic conditions often force port operators and businesses to make swift, high-stakes decisions, for which adequate container tracking information is frequently lacking.

Inefficient Terminal Operations

As ports struggle to contend with increasing vessel delays and port congestion, terminal operations are put to the test. According to reporting from Marketplace, key U.S. ports face significant struggles with terminal efficiency: through an analysis of 350 ports, two of the U.S.’s largest ports–Los Angeles and Long Beach–were ranked last in a study of key efficiency metrics. As key ports struggle with efficiency, businesses are often forced to face staggeringly high demurrage and detention charges, which amounted to an average cost of $2008 per container in 2023, according to the American Journal of Transportation. While this cost represents a 25% decrease from the prior year, demurrage and detention costs due to inefficient terminal operations represent a significant business expense to shippers.

The Role of Ocean Container Tracking

As businesses contend with a vast array of threats at ports, it’s paramount that growth-minded business leaders invest in port performance visibility solutions. Powered by ocean container tracking, port performance software solutions leverage real-time visibility, data analytics, and predictive insights to ensure maximum port performance in a volatile supply chain environment.

Real-Time Visibility Across Operations

Ports play an integral role in the broader supply chain ecosystem. They act as vital transition points, where containers switch modalities en route to their final destination. As such, port performance is entirely dependent on the performance of not just maritime transportation but also rail transportation. Despite this importance, many businesses continue to use container tracking software solutions that focus on only maritime transit rather than end-to-end intermodal. When it comes to port performance, siloed visibility exclusively over maritime operations leaves businesses with significant blind spots.

With end-to-end intermodal supply chain visibility, businesses can ensure container visibility throughout a container's transit rather than over a single modality. This visibility allows businesses to understand the precise location of their shipments. Armed with precise container location, businesses can quickly identify recurring issues within their intermodal supply chain and ultimately leverage this information to maximize performance at vital trade hubs.

Integrated Data Analytics

An unspoken truth of today’s supply chain technology landscape is that data is only as useful as it is accessible. Business leaders are often inclined to throw data at a problem, building analysis capabilities without necessarily building solutions. In other words, in today’s supply chain landscape, data is often leveraged as a sort of panacea–a catch-all solution to a complex problem.

The problem, more than anything, is one of accessibility. Without effective integration of supply chain data analytics into a business's daily operations, data can create more questions than it answers. Ocean container tracking software leverages fully integrated data analytics, accessible through a streamlined, customizable ocean container tracking software platform, to ensure a precise understanding of operations at busy logistics hubs. With metrics to analyze throughput, dwell time, and other key performance indicators, businesses can leverage integrated data analytics to objectively make high-stakes logistics decisions.

Automated Notifications for Enhanced Awareness

In a perfect world, supply chains would be monitored continuously, thus removing any potential for disruptions or inefficiencies to go unnoticed and spiral out of control. However, the global supply chain is far from a perfect world. Minor disruptions and inefficiencies often go unnoticed in complex, multimodal supply chains and quickly cascade into catastrophic supply chain stoppages, leaving stakeholders and consumers dissatisfied.

With automated notifications through an end-to-end supply chain visibility software platform, businesses can build the 24/7/365 supply chain visibility needed to contend with a high-stakes supply chain ecosystem. Companies can create fully customized notification systems through advanced data integration strategies, keeping them apprised of crucial events like last free day (LFD), demurrage and detention, and port delays. These notifications are a final guardrail against disruption in a complex port environment.

Ready to Maximize Port Performance?

In a highly volatile port landscape, leveraging ocean container tracking for maximum performance can mean the difference between successful supply chains or operations rife with disruption. With OpenTrack, businesses can leverage the latest supply chain visibility software innovations to maximize port performance and build peerless resilience.

  • Intermodal Container Tracking provides the end-to-end supply chain visibility needed to mitigate high-stakes supply chain disruptions.
  • Integrated Data Analytics helps businesses leverage data for enhanced performance at dynamic logistics hubs.
  • Automated Notifications ensure 24/7/365 supply chain awareness.

Book a demo with OpenTrack and see how innovative ocean container tracking technology can help your business maximize port performance today.

Book a Demo

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Please check all fields are complete

Get started and see how the OpenTrack software has helped 100’s of companies with their Logistics.