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Using Ocean Container Tracking Software to Optimize Container Efficiency

June 24, 2024

Ocean container tracking software has become an invaluable tech solution in an international shipping market that values visibility and transparency.

Container shipping has come a long way, especially on the international landscape. These corrugated steel boxes became instrumental in enhancing shipping operations by allowing shippers and carriers to stack, load, and transport massive amounts of cargo efficiently. They provided supply chains with a win-win situation, enabling cost-effective operations and streamlined shipping.

In 1980, 100 million metric tons of cargo were shipped internationally. In 2021, it was 1.95 billion metric tons, with containers used for over 60% of that cargo. Containers obviously play a vital role in international shipping, and tracking them allows shippers and supply chains the opportunity to optimize the entire logistics process through planning, risk mitigation, and streamlined communication.

Key Benefits of Ocean Container Tracking Software

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, yet we have only successfully explored about 5% of that. Couple that with the rigors of international shipping, and it is clear that supply chains are ill-equipped to successfully manage logistics without some level of transparency. However, with ocean container tracking, that changes.

1. Real-Time Visibility

Ocean container tracking software allows supply chains or businesses to leverage it to track containers effectively in real time. This way, effective operational planning and decision-making become possible, making the supply chain much more resilient and flexible. Knowing the status of the container also allows for honest communication between the supply chain and customers.

2. Enhanced Supply Chain Transparency

Through ocean container tracking solutions, businesses have enhanced transparency across the entire supply chain. This means stakeholders can communicate effectively, work on their tasks more effectively, and seamlessly integrate with other aspects of the supply chain. Imagine the drayage provider having no idea when the ship will be available. It will impact the drayage service provider’s ability to plan and allocate resources effectively, leading to a communication breakdown and disrupting logistics.

3. Improved Operational Efficiency

Manual tracking was used before the ocean container tracking solution became so popular. However, it was largely inefficient. Users could only estimate and determine that their vehicles were still in motion, but they could not plan with it. With the new tracking solution, shippers can plan and optimize operations seamlessly because of the information it provides. It allows for more stakeholders to plan to carry out activities adequately.

4. Cost Savings

Through the tracking solution, more supply chains and shippers can streamline the customs clearance process to avoid costly traps like detention and demurrage. It also optimizes container utilization for carriers because they can plan ahead on how to reallocate it rather than miss out on potential users.

5. Risk Management

Risk is a big aspect of any shipping operation. Freight may get lost, damaged, or stolen in transit. Although the insurance payouts cover the loss, supply chain disruptions are inevitable and could cost the businesses some loyal customers. With ocean tracking solutions, that never has to be the case. They allow for risk analysis and mitigation by providing all the necessary information the shippers will need to enforce this in real time.

Key Features of Effective Ocean Container Tracking Software

There are a lot of tracking solutions, and they can vary in specifications, transportation modes, and compatibility. However, there are must-have features that will play a key role in enhancing any shipping operation. Without them, the supply chain may struggle to achieve the desired outcome.

1. GPS and IoT Integration

The Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are an interesting duo.

The GPS feature of the container tracking solution leverages satellite images to help supply chains pinpoint the exact location of the container in real time. With GPS technology, these supply chains can estimate ETAs and when to kick-start the following line of action.

On the other hand, IoT leverages sensors to tell the supply chain everything about the container being tracked. This may include the temperature and humidity of the container and whether it was tampered with.

With these two, the tracking solution can provide a comprehensive overview of the container throughout the shipping process.

2. Predictive Analytics

Some schools of thought believe that past information is a great way to identify future occurrences. It is certainly true for shipping operations, so the information gleaned from the tracking solutions can be analyzed in real time to predict the rest of the shipping process and future shipping operations. Predictive analytics can identify patterns and trends, enabling operators to anticipate potential delays or disruptions. Predictive analytics play significant roles in the planning and decision-making of the supply chain.

3. Automated Alerts and Notifications

Alerts and notifications act as reminders to the supply chain stakeholders and users of the ocean container tracking software. This way, they can all keep track of the shipping progress while making necessary preparations for the containers to arrive. Rather than spending all the time monitoring the progress on a screen, alerts and notifications allow for more flexible and strategic work.

4. Comprehensive Dashboard and Reporting

The tracking application must come fitted with a dashboard and effective reporting ability.  The dashboard serves as a control center, allowing users and the supply chain access to necessary information quickly. Through the dashboard, users can access other tools and functionalities of the tracking solution. Reporting allows for quick and practical analysis of the entire shipping process. The tracking application should be able to provide this in different formats and in a way that is easy to understand.

5. Integration with Other Systems

Although the tracking solution is a critical tool in the ocean shipping operation, it is not the only tool. That is why it must be able to integrate with the others to ensure seamless use – and why the dashboard is necessary.

Best Practices for Optimizing Ocean Container Tracking Software

Tracking technology is a game changer in the world of international shipping. However, certain best practices must be followed if a supply chain will make the most of it. These practices include the following:

1. Assessing Organizational Needs

The needs of the organization will, to a considerable extent, determine the use of the tracking solution.

For instance, some supply chains just want to know the shipment’s location at every point in time, while others, like reefer or cold chain, want to learn all about the condition of the container while in transit. Supply chains in various industries will have different needs, but identifying them will ensure they can optimize the use of the ocean tracking solution.

2. Selecting the Right Software Provider

Selecting the right software provider will play a significant role in the success of the tracking solution.

Partnering with a provider that can scale the tracking application when needed is essential. This is especially helpful when the supply chain handles a lot of containers. Other considerations are cost, ease of use, and support. Although the lowest price is not always advisable because it may come without necessary functionalities, the tracking solution shouldn’t cost the supply chain too much. If required, the application may be customizable to reflect different pricing budgets.

3. Training and Onboarding

Despite the necessity of ease when picking the software provider, it is also essential to properly train and onboard the staff for the tracking solution.

These may entail additional investment and different strategies for different levels of staff. For instance, new hires without experience may have to undergo more rigorous and in-depth training, while old hires with experience could need change management. During the training and onboarding process, it is vital to ensure clear communication of the value proposition for the tracking application and tailor the training and onboarding to the user’s specific role.

4. Continuous Improvement and Monitoring

The world is constantly changing, and so are shipping operations. What is relevant today was not necessarily so only a few years ago. Technological solutions are constantly being updated to reflect new conditions and changes, and the supply chain must do the same for tracking solutions. Investing in continuous improvement allows the tracking application to stay relevant for the supply chain and ensures no surprises.

How OpenTrack’s Ocean Container Tracking Solution Optimizes the Shipping Process

Shipping can be quite complicated, but OpenTrack brings your supply chain under control. Our user-friendly software offers the transparency and peace of mind your supply chain needs for efficient ocean freight management. Your cargo can now move across the globe without being out of sight. That is the power of our application. It seamlessly provides you with the real-time location and status of your shipments.

Here is why our tracking solution is the best bet for your business and supply chain:

  • Real-time Tracking: Monitor your containers 24/7, from port to destination.
  • Automated Alerts: Get instant notifications of delays, arrivals, and potential issues.
  • Complete Shipment History: Access a detailed record of your shipments’ journeys.
  • Simplified Document Management: Store and manage all your shipping documents in one place.

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