Imagine having the ability to track your shipments in real-time, identify delays early, and know exactly when your cargo will arrive. This is the power of ocean freight visibility, and it's something that all shippers should take advantage of.
Ocean cargo is often unpredictable. In fact, as of August 2022, the average late vessel is delayed by more than six days, and in July 2022, only about 40.5 percent of container vessels arrived without any delay to their destination.
This can be especially frustrating when you don't have visibility into your ocean freight and have no idea where your goods are. If you can’t track your shipments, you can’t manage them effectively, which can lead to all sorts of problems, from late deliveries to unhappy customers.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to keep track of your ocean freight shipments. In this guide, we will discuss how ocean freight visibility works and how to keep track of your sea shipments.
By following these tips, you'll be able to track your shipments every step of the way — from port to port — ensuring that your goods arrive safe and sound.
What's Ocean Freight Visibility?
In today's global economy, ocean freight plays a vital role in the transport of goods. In fact, ocean freight accounts for more than 80% of the volume of international trade in goods. However, ocean freight transport can be complex and often opaque, making it difficult to track and manage shipments. This is where ocean freight visibility comes in.
In short, ocean freight visibility is the ability to track your ocean freight shipments from port to port. Having ocean freight visibility gives you complete transparency into your shipments, so you always know where they are and when they're expected to arrive.
How to Keep Track of Your Ocean Freight Shipments
Keeping track of your ocean freight shipments doesn't have to be a daunting task. Implementing a few best practices can streamline the process and ensure that your shipments arrive on time and without incident.
Carrier Tracking Systems
If you’re working with a large carrier, chances are they have their own tracking system that you can use to track your shipments. These systems are usually very user-friendly and offer many features, such as the ability to set up alerts so that you’re notified when your shipment arrives at its destination.
Freight Forwarder Tracking Systems
Freight forwarders usually have their own tracking systems as well, which you can use to track your shipments. These systems usually have all the same features as carrier tracking systems, plus a few extras. For example, some freight forwarder tracking systems allow you to track multiple shipments at once, which can be very helpful if you’re shipping a large number of products.
GPS Tracking Devices
If you want the most comprehensive tracking solution possible, you can invest in GPS tracking devices for your shipments. These devices will allow you to track your shipments in real-time, which can be very helpful if you need to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during transit.
Manual Tracking Methods
Of course, there are also manual methods of tracking ocean freight shipments, such as calling the carrier or freight forwarder periodically to check on the status of your shipment. However, these methods can be very time-consuming and won’t always provide accurate information.
Ocean Freight Visibility Software
Using ocean freight software is the best way to keep track of your ocean freight shipments. This type of software offers a number of benefits, including the ability to track multiple shipments at once, set up alerts, and track shipments in real time.
Benefits of Ocean Freight Visibility
Increasing ocean freight visibility has a multitude of benefits for small businesses in the shipping industry. From reducing costs to improving customer service, there are many reasons why you should invest in increasing visibility in your supply chain.
Increased Supply Chain Visibility
With end-to-end tracking, businesses can see exactly where their shipments are at all times and make changes to the route if necessary. This increased level of visibility helps to ensure that shipments arrive on time and that businesses can avoid any potential disruptions in the supply chain.
Better Inventory Management
Another benefit of ocean freight visibility is that it can help businesses to manage their inventory better. By tracking ocean freight shipments, businesses can see when products are expected to arrive and plan accordingly. This helps to avoid overstocking or running out of products, which can negatively impact the bottom line.
Improved Customer Service
With up-to-the-minute tracking information, you can provide your customers with more accurate ETAs for their shipments. This level of customer service will help to build trust and loyalty, which is essential for any business.
Proactive Problem Solving
By having access to data and analytics, you can identify potential problems before they happen. This allows you to take proactive steps to avoid issues, rather than reacting after the fact.
Lower Insurance Costs
When you have greater control over your ocean cargo, you're less likely to file claims for lost or damaged goods. By having this level of visibility, customers can proactively manage any risks that may occur during transit, which can help lower their insurance costs.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
There are a number of ways that ocean freight visibility can help businesses to operate more sustainably. For example, by tracking shipments in real time, businesses can avoid unnecessary delays and take steps to ensure that their products arrive on time. You can also ensure that it takes the most efficient route possible, which can lead to lower emissions. As a result, ocean freight visibility can have a positive impact on both your business and the environment.
Perhaps the most important benefit of ocean freight visibility is that it leads to enhanced efficiency across the board. By streamlining processes and reducing disruptions, you can maximize efficiency and run a more smooth operation.
Challenges of Ocean Freight Visibility
Despite the many benefits of ocean freight visibility, there are a few challenges that need to be considered. Achieving complete ocean freight visibility is easier said than done. There are a number of obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve true visibility into your shipments.
Data fragmentation occurs when information about a shipment is spread across multiple systems, making it difficult to get a complete picture of what's going on. This can make it difficult to track shipments and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.
Tracking information is only as good as the data that's being inputted into the system. If the data is inaccurate, so is the tracking information. This can make it difficult to track shipments and make informed decisions about where they are in the supply chain.
Ocean freight tracking data is often stored in different formats, making it difficult to compare and analyze. This can make it difficult to track shipments and understand what's happening across the supply chain.
In order for tracking to be effective, the data must be updated in a timely manner. This includes information such as ship name, bill of lading number, container number, and arrival date. If any of this information is not updated in a timely manner, it can throw off the entire tracking process.
How to Overcome These Challenges
To overcome these challenges, companies need to invest in accurate tracking solutions that use real-time data from sensors and other sources to provide up-to-date information about ship locations and conditions. They also need to standardize data across all systems to make it easier to compare and analyze. In addition, companies need to ensure that their tracking solutions can provide timely updates to make informed decisions about their shipments.
Invest in Ocean Freight Software
Visibility is essential when shipping via ocean freight. By using the right software and following these tips, you can improve the visibility of your shipments and reduce the risk of delays or problems.
Cargoflip ocean freight visibility software can help overcome many of the challenges mentioned in this guide. With Cargoflip, you can track your ocean shipments in real-time, receive alerts about changes in status, and access all the information you need in one place.
If you have any questions about ocean freight visibility or how Cargoflip can help you, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our team would be happy to assist you.