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How to Use Global Container Terminal Tracking to Save Money With Major Carriers

December 8, 2023

Across the nation, businesses and individuals alike are searching for the best ways to cut costs in the face of inflation. BCOs and shippers are saving money by creating proactive ocean freight management in the supply chain. That’s especially important during times of uncertainty. Flock Freight reports, “Delays and other negative factors cost money, but the web can access… [when] information in real-time… [it is] as if you were personally on the freighter halfway across the ocean.” If a company can get its ocean freight visibility down, there is truly nothing stopping them, at least until it arrives at port and becomes subject to delays in drayage or other issues. But how can a cargo owner be farsighted when their freight crosses borders and oceans that they never will? Global container terminal tracking has been one solution to this wide-reaching predicament. 

What Is Global Tracking?

Global tracking is the ability to track parcel and package shipments worldwide. Tracking technology has proven more valuable than ever as the state of domestic port activity continues to fluctuate more than first anticipated due to the current Russo–Ukrainian War. 

Container tracking and traceability refer to monitoring the movement of containers carrying freight as they travel from point to point. Freight management parties can do this via various means, including GPS tracking, barcoding, and other electronic data-tracking methods. 

The purpose of container tracking and traceability is to improve the efficiency of supply chains and logistics operations by allowing companies to monitor better and manage their inventory levels. In addition, by tracking containers throughout their journey, companies can also more easily identify any potential delays or problems during shipping.

The exact process that occurs while freight is en route to the port also needs to happen after cargo arrives at its destination.

A host of other challenges may arise in managing drayage from the port of entry to inland distribution centers or deconsolidation points.

Poor drayage management can lead to significant delays in returning equipment to port, resulting in added per diem fees for the carrier. Such delays can be caused by various factors, such as traffic congestion, incorrect paperwork, or damaged freight. When these delays occur, it can cause significant disruptions to the supply chain and increase costs for businesses.

Furthermore, these costs are part of accessorial charges and are usually believed to be unpredictable at best. Think about it. Global terminal operators have ultimate discretion over what to charge for keeping equipment, whether empty containers or many chassis away from the port.

Tracking every container movement and expected ETA is essential to better planning for imports and exports. By having this information readily available, importers and exporters can better anticipate delays and plan for them accordingly. Again, visibility can help avoid disruptions in the supply chain and ensure on-time deliveries.

Now, shippers and BCOs can leverage compatible software and hardware to create a unified system that alerts them and their customers of each movement toward the container’s final destination. A transportation management solution hosts this united system to present tracking information to employees and customers. 

Of course, that capability is only as good as its ability to unify data streams from across ocean liner platforms, rail carriers, and a shipper's in-house or external TMS. In a sense, the ocean freight track-and-trace capabilities play into the movements executed within the TMS and vice versa.

How Does Global Track and Trace Services Work?

Global container terminal tracking is built by combining container tracking software with IoT or GPS-enabled hardware sensors. The hardware sensor is attached to the container’s side or lock, transmitting data to a satellite that sends it to the associated software. This software appropriately receives, interprets, and shares the data based on pre-set rules. 

The quality of hardware and its location typically determine the hardware's limitations. Sensors with an integrated accelerometer can be programmed to begin data sharing when the container is in movement. Sensors that deliver continuous track and trace may be pricier or have a limited battery life compared to those that self-regulate their data sharing with an accelerometer or something similar. 

How Does Container Tracking Save Shippers Money?

Container tracking and traceability derive several core benefits, including:

  • Increased Efficiency – The increased efficiency at ports has led to less congestion in container activity. This streamlining has led to a decrease in the cost of shipping goods. The ports can also accommodate a variety of ships, which increases the number of goods that carriers can transport.
  • Improved Customer Service – The improved container management at ports has led to better customer service for everyone involved in the shipping process. Drivers can get through the ports more quickly and receive updated information about their shipments. This allows them to plan their routes more effectively and spend less time waiting at the port. Furthermore, automating shipping container delivery status also increases customer experience. One of the most common customer service complaints across all industries is communication, or honestly, the lack thereof. Global container terminal tracking makes communication easy by providing tracking resources at the touch of a button to minimize customer wait time without requiring 24/7 human employees. In addition, better transportation visibility gives a company the reputation of higher on-time total deliveries, maximizing opportunities for customer referrals. 
  • More Accurate Inventory Management – Container turn times at port are essential to importers because they can directly impact inventory management. Faster turn times mean that importers can quickly respond to problems and get their products to market faster. This can give them a competitive advantage over their rivals.

Container tracking software can also be essential in forecasting inventory fluctuations as import expectations change. By tracking the movement of containers, the software can help identify trends in demand and predict when certain goods might be in short supply. Freight management parties can then use this information to adjust inventory levels and ensure that products are always available for sale. In addition, the software can help identify areas where demand is increasing or decreasing, so they can take that appropriate actions to take advantage of or avoid any potential market opportunities.

  • Better Ability to Manage by Exception – A quality international tracking service will ensure accurate ETAs for ocean containers, giving decision-makers the notice needed to make the most profitable business decisions. Shippers and BCOs can address misplaced containers and other errors early instead of weeks or even months down the line. Prompt notice of errors minimizes the opportunity for spoiled cargo and backlogged products. 

Further, importers can manage better container visibility by using tracking tools to help identify which containers or outside influences are causing issues. This insight can help reduce the number of exceptions that need to be managed and improve overall container visibility. 

  • Increased Collaboration with Ocean and Inland OTR Carriers – Collaboration with crucial carriers is essential to the success of any supply chain. By working closely with carriers, importers ensure that products are delivered on time. This close collaboration also allows us to track products every step of the way to identify and address any problems that may arise quickly.

By having instant, real-time visibility to track container status, importers can plan accordingly and avoid potential delays. This visibility allows us to work closely with our carriers to ensure that our products get delivered on time and in the right condition. By collaborating closely with our carriers, we can also quickly identify and address any problems that may arise.

Of the above, one of the most considerable money-saving opportunities is in the carrier contracting stage. Shippers find better load procurement when their software tracking features notice they need to get quotes from reputable rail and trucking companies. As ports continue to take extra measures to clear backlogged containers, global container terminal tracking minimizes the opportunity for added dwell fees on a freight’s overall transportation cost. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the effectiveness of the global container terminal tracking features

These small changes allow shippers and BCOs to build stronger carrier-shipper relationships and get shipper of choice status for the most competitive rates from top quality carriers. Regardless, the goal is still the same–get the freight to the destination faster, with fewer hiccups, and without damage. 

Capitalize on the Latest Global Container Terminal Tracking Services by Partnering with OpenTrack Today

Shippers and BCOs can accomplish this successful global container terminal tracking by incorporating an API that can integrate and streamline the process for increased customer satisfaction while lowering transportation costs. 

Book your demo today to learn why OpenTrack is the simplest, most intelligent, and most accurate way to track your shipping containers.

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