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Container Lookup: How Do I Find My Container 24/7?

December 8, 2023

The majority of shipments today involve more than one mode of transportation to get from Point A to Point B. And among the most common shipping modes, ocean freight, remains one of the most vital. With such high demands and pressure given the volatile market, price increases, shortages in containers, chassis, and drivers, as well as massive delays, it is easy to see why issues like container lookup, real-time ocean container tracking, and status notifications can become critical for carriers and consumers alike. According to, more than half of ocean freight is delayed in some way to some extent from the initially scheduled delivery. This means that container tracking and visibility are now a need, not a wish or perk. Real-time visibility and 24/7 tracking remain a necessity for the growth and success of a global supply chain network.

Why Tracking Containers Is Believed to Be Difficult at Best

Ocean shipment tracking is difficult in the best of times, primarily because carrier data is greatly limited in scope and available data is often out of date and unusable. Similar to carriers, shippers face several challenges when it comes to tracking and container lookup, including:

  • Delayed data updates, because there are no uniform ocean tracking standards.
  • Bottlenecks at the docks lead to compounded delays and rollovers.
  • Missing paperwork and documents cause loads to be rejected. 
  • Poor scheduling and leeway cause more severe crunches with deadlines.
  • Excessive delays caused by others directly impact container status.
  • Weather, political, and other disruptions affect container lookup options.
  • Poor visibility and tracking promote confusion and miscommunication.

These factors contribute to an ever-growing combination that makes tracking and monitoring ocean freight more complex than ever. This challenge remains a crucial focus for logistics managers and carriers alike.

Container Lookup Is Made Simple With App-Based Technology and Instant Updates

The key to successfully managing freight tracking and cargo container lookup access is utilizing advancements in technology. With new apps, tools, dashboards, and platforms available, getting real-time status updates and reliable data and information is easier than ever. Within the supply chain network, team members can more easily communicate with each other, managers, and third-party vendors. It also allows for more practical notification and communications with customers in real-time about any issues or delays their shipments are facing. The onboarding of technology is essential in establishing a competitive advantage.

Additional Ways Shippers Can Find Their Containers at Any Time

According to JOC, most carriers estimate when a vessel will “arrive,” not when the contents will be unloaded, distributed, and sent on to the next leg of the shipment route. Even these primary estimates can be off as ‘arrival’ can mean the ship is offshore, in line waiting for dock access, or is waiting for final unloading. This lack of transparency and effective communication makes container lookup and tracking all the more challenging to monitor. Thankfully there are some easy ways to overcome these limitations and improve visibility and container traceability.

  • Integration with a transportation management system to share data from a real-time tracking platform within an easy-to-use interface.
  • Push notifications that show shippers' ETA and exceptions to be addressed and dealt with quickly and efficiently.
  • Emails for status updates and shipments require intervention so everyone can easily coordinate and collaborate.
  • Using real-time data to plan replenishment based on sailings/port activity and warehouse inventory status.

The peace of mind that comes with knowing real-time status updates can be obtained at any time cannot be beaten. It remains a primary motivator for shippers and carriers to embrace technological advances within the supply chain network. 

Track, Full, Empty and In-Transit Containers While at Sea or During Drays With OpenTrack

With the need for reliable ocean-based transportation services in higher demand than ever, the level of traffic that needs managing has also grown at a record rate. With so many packages coming and going, and with consumer demands not slowing down at all, the need for real-time container lookup and tracking remains critical. Real-time visibility and 24/7 tracking are possible with the right global supply chain network specializing in container tracking and monitoring. Connect with OpenTrack to learn more today.

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