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Ocean Container Tracking: Visibility, Accountability, and Efficiency

December 8, 2023

It’s no secret that today’s supply chain professionals operate in an increasingly fraught environment: from strikes to slow-downs, today’s maritime shipping landscape is one of unpredictability, delays, and poor communication.

As a result of these persistent pressures, supply chain leaders are turning to recent technological innovations. According to, the global supply chain management software market was valued at $21.65B in 2022 and is expected to balloon to $36.9B by 2028. Global Trade Magazine confirms this uptick in demand for supply chain software — more than 76% of companies specializing in supply chain management say they plan to integrate analytics, artificial intelligence, and data science into their solutions. 

The data is clear: With the global supply chain struggling to face ever-changing challenges, today’s shippers are turning to technology to improve operations and build resilience. 

By leveraging ocean container tracking — a vital facet of any supply chain management tech stack — stakeholders in the maritime supply chain are refocusing on the basics of any smart supply chain management strategy: visibility, accountability, and efficiency. By understanding how ocean container tracking helps to reinforce these core supply chain values, shippers can better understand how to leverage ocean container tracking as part of their supply chain management strategy. 

What is Ocean Container Tracking?

While ocean container tracking may seem like a relatively simple concept, the intricacies of an effective ocean container tracking strategy can confuse some shippers. Advanced ocean container tracking software enables shippers to aggregate data from carriers (ocean and rail) and terminals to build a comprehensive picture of maritime operations and beyond. 

With information from carriers and other tracking technologies, ocean container tracking data such as real-time location and container status are transmitted to shippers through an application programming interface (API). Integrated seamlessly into a pre-existing software infrastructure, the API translates complex data into actionable insights, including automated notifications for exceptions and status changes, real-time data visualizations, and predictive analytics. With complex ocean container tracking data translated through a fully integrated API, shippers can leverage ocean container tracking software for unprecedented access to on-demand supply chain data. 

Ocean Container Tracking: Visibility, Accountability, and Efficiency

Ultimately, ocean container tracking exists to benefit shippers. But how, exactly, does an ocean container tracking strategy help shippers build the tech-enabled resilience demanded by today’s complex supply chains? It reinforces three critical values of any effective supply chain: visibility, accountability, and efficiency.


A years-long onslaught of supply chain crises has shown many companies need more visibility. According to a Supply & Demand Chain Executive article, a staggering 80% of supply chain executives say they cannot digitally track the movement of direct and indirect materials across their supply chain networks. When faced with a high-stakes disruption such as a pandemic, strike, or global conflict, they’re more likely to have late shipments, missed deliveries, and unsatisfied stakeholders. 

With real-time visibility from ocean container tracking, shippers can instantly access real-time location data for all shipments throughout their network. By utilizing the latest carrier data, ocean container tracking ensures that shippers can gain the at-a-glance awareness they need to react quickly to even the most pressing supply chain disruptions. 


With investments in supply chain technology, including ocean container tracking, those tasked with managing high-stakes supply chains can provide stakeholders with the information they demand. Real-time container tracking ensures that, following a disruption, shippers can instantly ascertain the location of their shipments and access the post-event data they need to understand why the disruption occurred and how they can prevent similar events in the future. With this information, shippers and managers can ensure accountability throughout the supply chain. 


One of the most significant benefits of ocean container tracking is its effect on efficiency. While a more visible, accountable supply chain is undoubtedly better positioned to handle the disruptions associated with operating in today’s complex maritime environment, a supply chain with increased efficiency stands to lower operating costs. Real-time routing, integrated data aggregation, and actionable insights enable shippers to understand actual conditions impacting their operations. This helps them to swiftly determine the most fuel-efficient methods to transport goods from point A to point B.

But it’s not only an issue of fuel savings and cost-effectiveness. Increasingly, regulatory bodies are placing pressure on businesses large and small to lower the emissions associated with their supply chains, also known as Scope 3 emissions. And not without good cause: According to Ernst & Young, organizations can trace 90% of their  total carbon emissions to supply chains. As such, supply chain leaders throughout the global transportation industry are searching for innovative strategies to reduce carbon emissions during transportation. By leveraging ocean container tracking to increase efficiency in routing and operations, shippers can not only lower their operating costs but also take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and stay in line with increasingly carbon-conscious regulatory bodies. 

Next Steps: Three Steps Toward Ocean Container Tracking Implementation

The data is clear: For today’s shippers, ocean container tracking is the industry standard for improving visibility, accountability, and efficiency throughout maritime operations. Still, shippers often struggle with implementing ocean container tracking software. We’ve highlighted three essential steps for shippers to effectively implement ocean container tracking software into their daily operations, ensuring they can keep pace with a fast-moving transportation industry.

1. Identify Pain Points

Think of ocean container tracking as the transportation industry’s Swiss Army Knife. Like any multi-tool, it has many functions: tracking containers, aggregating data, and improving response times to high-stakes transportation disruptions. While these functions are essential to the performance of any supply chain, they’re a bit generalized. An organization must first drill down and identify the unique pain points it seeks to address. Only then can they unlock the full potential of ocean container tracking. Here are some common pain points shippers can manage through ocean container tracking.

  • Blank Sailings: As blank sailings continue to increase, shippers are searching for strategies to mitigate their adverse effects. With ocean container tracking, shippers can harness the power of automated notifications to ensure blank sailing awareness across all transportation stakeholders. 
  • Inaccurate ETA: As the global transportation industry becomes ever-more interconnected, the importance of accurate ETAs becomes increasingly evident. Without accurate ETAs, drayage providers and stakeholders cannot provide reliable service. Real-time container visibility through streamlined tracking software means that shippers can provide stakeholders with accurate ETAs, ensuring that supply chains are unhindered by inaccuracy. 
  • Manual Data Entry: Manual data entry has been an undoubted scourge of the supply chain industry for years. Complex, outdated data entry processes burden busy employees and distract from profit and service-focused operations. With integrated data aggregation through an ocean container tracking software platform, shippers can better leverage their team and ensure unprecedented accuracy in all data-driven supply chain operations.

Once shippers identify specific problems, they can turn to actionable solutions. Shippers can better understand how they might implement ocean container tracking by setting clear, concise goals.

2. Set Data-Driven Goals

Once an organization understands what problems they’re seeking to address through ocean container tracking, it can then work to establish specific goals. While this may seem like an extra step, having a practical, concrete plan can help shippers better utilize a detailed, data-driven ocean container tracking software system. Ensuring that goals can be measured with quantifiable, standardized data allows shippers to understand where they are in relation to their key objectives with their ocean container tracking software.

3. Choose the Right Solution

With the ocean container tracking software industry set to continue its meteoric rise in the coming years, choosing which ocean container tracking software provider is right for your business is more complicated than ever. By prioritizing a few fundamental values when searching for an ocean container tracking software provider, shippers can ensure that they’re choosing the right ocean container tracking software solution for their needs. 

  • Accessible Visibility: Today’s shippers understand that visibility is only as useful as it is accessible. By partnering with the right ocean container tracking software provider, shippers can ensure that tech silos, complex coding processes, and software mishaps don’t stand between them and the high-stakes container information they need. 
  • Actionable Analytics: While many ocean container tracking software providers offer shippers access to analytics, many fail to aggregate those analytics into actionable insights. Through a partnership with an ocean container tracking partner that leverages analytics toward actionable insights, shippers can harness data to make the improvements they need to succeed in a dynamic maritime environment. 
  • Integrated Rail Capabilities: The supply chain doesn’t begin or end at the port. Through a partnership with an ocean container tracking provider that offers integrated rail performance, shippers can easily access real-time rail locations, allowing for streamlined communication between all supply chain members. 

With the right ocean container tracking software solution, today’s shippers can meet the demands of a volatile supply chain and ensure maximum visibility, accountability, and efficiency. 

Ocean Container Tracking from OpenTrack: The Maritime Industry’s Choice for Visibility, Accountability, and Efficiency

By partnering with OpenTrack, shippers can gain instant insight into 97% of global ocean shipments. With standardized data from OpenTrack aggregated into actionable insights, shippers can leverage vast data sources to optimize supply chain visibility, accountability, and efficiency. With ocean container tracking from OpenTrack, shippers gain instant access to an invaluable suite of resources:

  • Real-Time Ocean Container Tracking allows shippers to access real-time container locations instantly through a cloud-based platform. 
  • Streamlined Analytics mean that shippers can cut through noisy data and get to the heart of their operations, quickly moving from data to action. 
  • API Integration ensures that shippers can easily integrate OpenTrack’s ocean container tracking software platform into their existing tech stack, preventing tech silos and ensuring maximum effectiveness in all maritime operations.

Book a demo with OpenTrack, and see how ocean container tracking can enable unprecedented visibility, accountability, and efficiency in your supply chain today. 

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