According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 80% of the total volume of global trade is transported by ship. This impressive statistic underscores one of the core tenets of today’s complex global supply chain: maritime transportation, in the form of containerized transport, forms the backbone of the global economy and the way of life we’ve all come to take for granted. In other words, not only is the economy reliant on maritime transportation, but our day-to-day experiences — from ordering clothes to grocery shopping — are wholly reliant upon maritime transportation.
But despite the unequivocal importance of maritime transportation in every aspect of our daily lives, maritime shippers face a more challenging environment than ever before. Rebecca Grynstan, Secretary General of UNCTAD, writes in the introduction to the Conferences 2022 Review of Maritime Transport, “Rarely has the importance of maritime logistics for trade and development been more evident than during the last year. Historically high and volatile freight rates, congestion, closed ports, and new demands for shipping following COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have all had measurable impacts on people’s lives.”
Maritime shippers, facing significant challenges with a tangible human cost, are under more pressure than ever to mitigate the effects of a volatile transportation landscape. As a result, shippers increasingly turn to innovation as a source of resilience in a problematic maritime environment. Container tracking, leveraged through innovative, streamlined software interfaces, gives shippers a real-time understanding of container location and status throughout the supply chain. This article discusses how shippers use ocean container tracking to mitigate the impact of common threats to the maritime supply chain and optimize ocean shipping from end to end.
How Does Ocean Container Tracking Software Work?
While it’s clear that ocean container tracking is an essential component of modern maritime transportation strategies, it can be challenging to understand exactly how ocean container tracking software works.
Ultimately, ocean container tracking is dependent on high-quality supply chain data. With access to peerless container data from major carriers, terminals, and railroads, ocean container tracking software can aggregate this vital carrier data into fully standardized analytics, creating uniform milestones across a shipper's supply chain. Through streamlined aggregation, ocean container tracking provides shippers with the data clarity they need to cut through the noise of maritime transportation.
Once data is aggregated and standardized, ocean container tracking software leverages an application programming interface (API) to provide shippers with seamless, automated shipping updates. With integration into pre-existing TMS and API, this ocean container tracking data can be fed directly into a shipper's tech stack, ensuring the seamless delivery of real-time updates, exception alerts, and the actionable analytics needed to optimize maritime operations.
Three Ways Ocean Container Tracking Software Optimizes Maritime Operations
With an understanding of how ocean container tracking software works in place, let’s dive into some of the key benefits that ocean container tracking software offers shippers.
Preventing Delays and Disruptions
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, delays and disruptions have become regular global maritime supply chain fixtures. While shippers might assume that disruptions are dissipating as the effects of the pandemic continue to wane, recent data shows otherwise: in the first half of 2023, supply chain disruptions grew by 3%. With supply chain disruptions here to stay, shippers are increasingly turning to ocean container tracking to mitigate the negative impacts of a volatile supply chain.
By leveraging the actionable analytics garnered through ocean container tracking data collection, shippers can objectively understand past performance needed to mitigate future delays. Once shippers identify pain points, they can easily optimize routes for maximum efficiency.
However, disruption doesn’t always allow for this kind of forward-thinking and often strikes with little warning. With automated exception alerts for events like blank sailings, vessel delays, demurrage, and last free day (LFD), shippers can mitigate the effects of common exceptions.
Bolstering Collaboration and Customer Expectations
In the global maritime supply chain, collaboration is vital. With ocean container tracking, shippers can gain the big-picture operational visibility they need to optimize stakeholder collaboration and ensure resilience across all supply chain partnerships. Shippers can build the seamless transportation infrastructure demanded by today’s supply chain through a few essential collaboration-oriented assets:
- API & TMS Integrations ensure that shippers can easily integrate ocean container tracking software into existing systems. With ocean container tracking software, smart shippers can keep what works and change what doesn’t.
- White-Label Customer Portal allows shippers to shape ocean container tracking software to fit their design needs, ensuring customers enjoy a seamless tracking experience without the hassle of navigating to a third-party site.
- True End-to-End Visibility provides shippers with accurate intermodal visibility across all shipments, providing a streamlined tracking experience from vessel to drayage to rail.
Leveraging these features, shippers can create a streamlined supply chain experience not only for their teams but for their stakeholders, too.
Enhancing Operational Efficiency
Today’s maritime shippers face a significant challenge: How to build resilience in the face of increasingly common disruptions while also investing in the lean-minded, operational efficiency necessary to cut costs in an inflationary landscape. For today’s shippers, it’s essential to build short-term resilience and long-term efficiency simultaneously, but how?
Automated exception alerts through ocean container tracking ensure that shippers have maximum resilience in the face of disruptions. With automated exception alerts through ocean container tracking, shippers get notified when disruptions occur, providing maximum time to adapt and develop new strategies.
While automated exception alerts may bolster resilience, how are shippers meant to build the big-picture efficiency demanded by today’s maritime supply chain? With the big-picture data from ocean container tracking, shippers can build a real-time understanding of the latest trends affecting their maritime operations and proactively alter processes to boost efficiency.
Ocean Container Tracking Software: The Key to Optimized Ocean Shipping
As the global maritime transportation industry continues to navigate a period of notable turbulence, shippers are demanding solutions. With OpenTrack, shippers can gain instant access to a vital suite of ocean container tracking software assets.
- API & TMS Integration provides shippers with maximum synchronicity across all transportation platforms.
- Automated Exception Alerts ensure maximum resilience to high-stakes disruptions.
- True End to End Visibility helps shippers build the big-picture, data-driven operational understanding needed in a complex transportation landscape.
Book a demo with OpenTrack, and learn how real-time visibility can optimize your ocean shipping operations today.