How to Track Your Ocean Container in Real-Time: A Comprehensive Guide

Real-time cargo tracking improves shipment security, customer service, route management, and overall efficiency. Use container tracking software to get quick updates about your shipment’s status and milestones.

The bigger the freight sector becomes; the more technological innovation is required to streamline processes. Every area of supply chain management is currently being optimized for maximum efficiency using minimum resources. Container tracking software is among the most popular tools among modern freight forwarding systems. Automation makes it easy to monitor the progress of your shipment without any need for paperwork, which makes it more sustainable. Since the transport sector is notorious for its carbon emissions, freight forwarders and shippers are eager to find ways of minimizing their carbon footprint. User-friendly real-time cargo tracking tools in centralized setups are helping them make their operations better for the environment.  

The international logistics automation market held a value of $49.7 billion in 2020 and this figure is expected to reach $147.4 billion by the year 2030. Experts have estimated that unbelievable jump in numbers as you can see, and this development will occur just within a decade. The need for even more advanced ocean freight tracking systems will increase within the coming years. Shippers want to stay updated on the movements of their containers, which allows them to make the right decisions at the right time. Customer service is a prominent reason for promoting automated freight forwarding management tools and every business manager strives to strengthen relationships with their customers. Container tracking software facilitates communication within the team, assists in data collection, and leads to improvement in reporting to supervisors and customers.   

There’s a learning curve of every track-and-trace tool for freight forwarding managers, but automation reduces the training time of employees. You have to arrange the settings of your tool using your dashboard to get the required data about your shipments. Real-time cargo tracking systems have maps to show your exact locations and send you notifications about the status of your container.  

Milestones in container tracking software

The map on your dashboard displays the active shipments you have out there in different modes like air, ocean, road, and rail modes. You can see all of the cargo on the move at the same time on your map, which allows you the ability to monitor them simultaneously. Once you click on a shipment, you can instantly view all the details of that shipment, including its route. Depending on your preferred settings, you’ll be alerted about its status through real-time cargo tracking. Comparing the preset schedule to its current schedule helps you make quick decisions.

You’ll be alerted to your container’s departure from your facility and its arrival at the terminal, where it’ll be ready for customs clearance and you’ll receive a notification about it. At the port of origin, the ocean freight tracking system will let you know when it’s loaded onto your chosen carrier and leaves that port. In case there’s a transshipment, you’ll be informed of the carrier’s arrival and departure times. You can depend on your selected container tracking software to assist you in monitoring the progress of your cargo along the route you decided for its transport. The tracking software will share a notification when the carrier reaches its destination and the last one at the moment your consignee gets the shipment.   

Effective methods for ocean freight tracking

An automated tracking system is an essential component of modern freight forwarding operations and its convenience makes it a worthy investment. Having a fast, accurate, and economical tool to monitor your shipments remotely is half the solution. The other half of your tracking solution is a unique number relevant only to your shipment. There are three types of numbers that you may employ to track your cargo in all modes.

Container number

There’s a sequence of numbers and letters that’s assigned to every container. The combination of letters and numbers is different for different containers, which means that you may use your container number for identification. Just like your social security number or national identity card number, your container number is unique. When you input your container number into your real-time cargo tracking system, the software accurately pinpoints its location on the map your screen displays.

Booking number

Once you’ve selected a carrier for your container, you need to reserve space in that carrier to transport your container safely to its destination. Ask your carrier for the booking number of your container, which is similar to getting a complaint number for customer support. After your reservation is confirmed, you can also find your booking number on the invoice provided by your carrier. Use your booking number together with your container tracking software to observe your cargo’s progress along its route.

Bill of Lading number

If you don’t want to use your booking number or container number, you can also use your Bill of Lading number. The Bill of Lading number or BL number for short is a specific number that shippers are provided by their carriers. When a carrier accepts your cargo for transportation, they give the shipper a document called the Bill of Lading. Each of these documents has a number assigned to it known as the Bill of Lading number. Ocean freight tracking is a pretty straightforward procedure when you add your Bill of Lading number to your software.

Why choose automated real-time cargo tracking

Your competitors are opting for automation to upgrade the quality of their services, save resources, and win over their customers. Neglecting automation, especially for a process as important as real-time shipment tracking, will result in your competitors leaving you behind. You might find your customers disappointed and switching over to your competitors because they offer more.

Route management

Deciding the route of your shipment in advance doesn’t account for unforeseen circumstances that could cause major delays. Having the ability to locate your cargo with high precision using container tracking software improves your decision making for organizing and rearranging routes.

Carrier monitoring

No matter how careful you are in your selection of the perfect carrier for your containers, optimization increases efficiency. Use accurate ocean freight tracking systems to compare the performance of various carriers to determine the best one for your business.

Direct notifications

Real-time cargo tracking allows you to receive the information you require for freight operations in time to create and implement solutions to serious problems. Since you get notifications about the status of your container in your inbox, you save time trying to gather that data.  

Better reporting

Receiving shipment data that you require in real-time doesn’t just help in internal communication, but also facilitates reporting. You can enjoy speedy, precise report generation using container tracking software and quickly send it to your customers for regular updates.

Centralized system

It’s best to sign up for a freight management system that gives you all the tools you need in one place. Integrations for ocean freight tracking tools are helpful along with platforms that target other areas of freight forwarding. Combine different features in a central setup for tracking shipments.   

 Choose an automated real-time cargo tracking tool that matches your requirements for freight forwarding operations. Different freight management systems have integrations for shipment tracking or in-built tracking tools for your convenience. You can save resources, improve efficiency, reduce training times, make better decisions, and protect the environment by investing in container tracking software for your company.