Tracking the location of containerized freight is arguably one of the most important and challenging operational processes within the ocean shipping industry. Each day, thousands of TEUs get unloaded in North American ports. For each container, there is an equal number of logistics coordinators who spend their time calling and emailing customers and transportation providers with location updates. An increasing number of supply chain professionals use tracking APIs to ensure ocean freight management runs as smoothly as possible. The visibility is necessary to coordinate truck and chassis capacity for port drayage and ensure customer orders arrive when they should.
Unfortunately, supply chain disruptions have become the new normal for ocean shippers. As the industry enters peak shipping season, most freight forwarders expect the same difficulties and delays that ocean importers experienced in 2021. Most shipping managers who embrace technological solutions for their business first recognize the glaring inefficiencies within their existing operations. This was particularly the case during the global pandemic that exposed just how quickly uncontrollable external factors could disrupt supply chains.
Shipping managers who utilize tracking APIs gain true visibility over their ocean containers; the technology allows them to navigate around potential disruptions, reduce freight costs, and eliminate inefficiencies in their business. This article explores some of the advantages of using tracking APIs, and how the technology is reshaping ocean freight management.
What is a Tracking API?
Application Programming Interface (API) is a cloud-based software that automatically collects, processes, and stores information from various data points used within a company. The technology has been around for decades but has taken on a larger significance in the logistics industry as importers and customers alike adjust to the growing demands of e-commerce. Ocean freight tracking APIs automatically send real-time updates of container events to internal software and spreadsheets. Shipping managers can also track their shipments using either the container number, the bill of lading, or the auto carrier identification. The technology offers companies a wide range of additional features that give importers a more comprehensive view of their shipping data and the latest information about current port conditions. Here are four ways that tracking APIs are transforming containerized freight management.
1. Simplifies Everyday Processes
APIs automatically provide shippers, BCOs, transportation providers, and customers with real-time location updates on every containerized shipment. The technology sends a push notification on every container milestone event, like when a container clears customs or arrives at its destination. This automated communication drastically reduces the time and labor hours spent by most companies that rely on traditional manual tracking methods at their business. Automation also reduces the risk of human error in manually recording each tracking event, helping to make sure that information is communicated accurately the first time and without delays.
2. Reduce Overall Operational Costs and Freight Expenditures
One of the primary advantages of automated APIs in this competitive marketplace is that it helps importers optimize their current operations and run more efficiently. APIs help eliminate the time and labor spent on manual tracking updates, allowing companies to reallocate workers into positions that actively expand their book of business. Real-time container tracking APIs can also help shave freight costs by reducing the money spent on accessorial fees like demurrage and detention.
3. Gain Access to Real-Time Port Conditions
In the past few years, it seems that almost every rate quote a freight forwarder receives from their transportation providers automatically includes detention costs in their rate quotes. The blame is usually on port congestion, which is caused by a number of factors, including vessel dwell time, a lack of truck capacity at the port, or inclement weather conditions, among other things. Shipping managers who utilize tracking APIs are also afforded access to the most comprehensive collection of current port conditions available in the industry. The data provides them visibility to plan ahead for possible disruptions before they occur, and gain insight into port conditions and minimize capacity issues.
4. Customizable Features that Support your Business
In the ocean freight industry, freight forwarders and logistics partners are built differently. Each business approaches logistics with its own methods, technologies, and internal transportation management systems (TMS). Not all API platforms are built the same; that’s why when researching for API visibility, it’s crucially important to find one that provides customizable features to fit your existing capabilities. A no-code solution offers the easiest option for ocean freight companies looking to meet their visibility goals in 2022.
Join the Companies Using APIs to Streamline Their Businesses
Vizion API offers the containerized freight industry the most comprehensive solution available to gain visibility over their supply chains. Vizion was built specifically to provide industry leaders with the data and tracking API technology necessary to optimize their businesses and gain control over their supply chains. The Vizion API streamlines the ocean container tracking process, making it easier for companies to visualize their entire supply chain and plan for problems before they occur. Don’t be left in the dark this peak season.
Book a demo today to discover how VIZION API can give you the visibility you deserve.