A Guide to Ocean Freight Visibility

A Guide to Ocean Freight Visibility

As one of the most easily disrupted forms of transportation, ocean freight causes potential delays due to issues like overloaded ports, lost containers, and asset shortages. Yet, it isn’t an issue we can sidestep easily. An estimated 80% of goods are transported by ships, with ocean freight volume steadily increasing since 1990.

Increased freight visibility can help improve ocean transport and reduce supply chain weaknesses. However, today’s solution to ocean freight visibility requires finesse and not just a stream of data points.

What is Ocean Freight Visibility?

Materials and goods typically go through many touchpoints before getting into the hands of the buyer. Each change of hands offers a point where goods can be damaged, misplaced, incorrectly routed, or held up.

Ocean freight visibility means increasing the information a logistics provider and shipper can see during the route. There are three stages in the logistics processes where providers can integrate visibility for more precise insights and supply chain transparency:

  1. Order Stage – Visibility provides insight into the quantity and product type ordered by a customer.
  2. In-Transit Stage – Products are followed every step of their journey, providing real-time location and status updates.
  3. Invoice and Audit Stage – Final steps of deals between sellers, LSPs, and buyers are completed efficiently.

Visibility during the in-transit stage impacts ocean freight the most, providing increased clarity throughout extended transport.

Challenges of Obtaining Ocean Freight Visibility

One of the complicated aspects of ocean freight is the distance between the starting point and the final destination. While technology is reducing the gaps and lowering the barriers, working overseas still has increased challenges. Traditionally, visibility required transport managers to keep track of shipments and provide manual updates.

Without a system of continuous tracking and automated notifications, getting real-time information is impossible.

Now, technology has enabled automated insights without any dependency on carriers. There are ways to access accurate tracking information, but data alone doesn’t solve the issue of ocean freight visibility. Companies that increase the amount of information available, but this can cause a messy and unstructured process that further burdens their teams.

When data is collected, many companies struggle to manage it and turn it into actionable insights.

Companies want more information to help them provide better shipping ETAs and expectations for their team, partners, and customers, but they also must be able to manage that data. Overloading teams with information can create more problems than it solves.

Ways to Get Improved Ocean Freight Visibility

If you want to improve ocean freight tracking without relying on carriers to take an active role, you need smarter tech. Three features will help increase ocean freight's true visibility while supporting logistics teams with actionable insights.


First, you can track shipments via API (Application Programmable Interface). Detailed information is regularly sent out to provide quality data and increase transparency—no matter where your freight is on the journey. Avoid the manual work of tracking data entry by using a system that does it all for you. A single, data-driven API simplifies your tracking process.

Data Enrichment

Next, consider how enriched cargo tracking information could help improve your ocean freight visibility. With VIZION technology, you can add on tracking features to see even more throughout various steps of the logistics journey:

  1. Enhanced locations
  2. Enhanced terminal visibility
  3. Vessel verification
  4. Customs data
  5. Live ETAs

Live Monitoring

Finally, you want to use tech that makes the data manageable and actionable to improve ocean freight visibility. Get support to help your team process transportation data without increasing worker burdens.

Live to monitor with VIZION’s real-time analytics stream provides in-transit visibility for increased agility and performance monitoring.

Benefits of Ocean Freight Visibility

Failing to update shippers, logistics partners, and buyers causes huge inefficiency in the logistics process and frustrates buyers. Customer service teams get bogged down by customers calling or emailing to find out where their goods are.

When logistics companies offer real-time insights and data-backed expectations, they can build trust with customers and shippers. Plus, companies can lower the risk of lost shipments and adjust faster when disruptions occur.

As more data is collected meaningfully, your company can use insights to make informed decisions and improve supply chain decisions.

If you want improved ocean freight visibility and insights to help you increase efficiency for more profitability, schedule a VIZION API demo today! We’ll help you get organized and standardized real-time tracking information that changes how you see shipping.

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