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How Retailers Are Responding to Ocean Freight Visibility Demands

December 8, 2023

Nationwide, shippers and BCOs are adjusting their shipping strategies amid the a volatile state of domestic port activity. In the same way, retailers are adapting their practices to accomplish their bottom line. McKinsey & Company analyzed the retailer perspective and concluded that “the concurrent disruptions have the potential to decrease earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for retailers by 20 to 40 percent in the near term, with 15 to 20 percent of that decrease enduring if these supply-chain shocks go unaddressed.” One way to address the supply chain disfunction is to utilize ocean freight and retail visibility.

Ocean Freight Visibility Implications for Today’s Supply Chain

Today’s consumers are accustomed to and expect visibility in their consumer goods purchases. Purchase decisions frequently hinge on the date of expected arrival. In the same way, retailers have considered the value that end-to-end visibility in the supply chain can bring to their operations. In today’s economy, the difference between inaccurate and accurate ETAs for ocean containers can heavily influence whether a brick-and-mortar store thrives or closes its doors for good. For most retailers, ocean freight visibility has been the last piece in the transparency puzzle to become standard and thus has been the largest source of transportation obscurity. 

How Retailers Utilize Technology to Navigate Continuing Market Volatility

Retailers benefit from ocean container software tracking that is accurate and consistent. Monitoring capacity, loads, and industry trends through innovative and collaborative platforms allows for faster response time and great opportunities. Among the technology options, retailers choose software with TMS integration to lead the collaboration creating more access for supply chain partners from end to end. This ocean freight visibility gives retailers the forewarning to make important consumer-facing business decisions that give them an edge over their competitors. As politics and world order adjust weekly, retailers need to have every tool available to sell to the new market revealed at the start of the new week.

Retailers Need Reliable, Transparent Data Resources to Source Inbound and Outbound Capacity.

Once a cargo barge has made it to port, a load has only just begun the next part of its journey. By automating shipping container delivery status and other visibility data, freight managers are equipped to source the appropriate inbound and outbound freight capacity. Accurate ocean freight visibility data minimizes the per diem charges generated when the next mode of transportation has yet to be contracted. Many retailers choose to have one less thing to worry about by partnering with experts who provide pre-vetted, on-call drivers and carriers to provide capacity and visibility on the ground. 

Plan on Both Short- and Long-Term Changes in Demand.

Retailers bolster their business resilience by incorporating ocean freight and retail transportation transparency into their operations. With tracking capabilities for intermodal shipping, decision-makers can ensure that both immediate and future needs are met. These types of considerations are vital in today’s fluctuating market. Does a retailer have warehouse connections for temporary overstock if the market changes? If an ocean barge runs behind schedule, do the expedited shipping partners have capacity? When shippers utilize predictive tools to plan for future market trends on realistic shipping timelines, ocean freight visibility becomes the gateway to satisfied retail customers. 

Partner With OpenTrack to Gain Visibility and Ocean Freight and Retail Transportation Services Balance

Despite the benefits of track and trace technology, there are still challenges in ocean freight visibility. Shippers and BCOs can optimize their transition to a more transparent form of freight transportation by partnering with an expert in the field of visibility. OpenTrack is a leader in the industry, marked by its ability to integrate into a TMS system within 48 hours. Curious how this is accomplished? Book a demo today to learn why OpenTrack is the best track for all of your ocean freight visibility needs.

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