Shipping ports and yards have been backlogged, making it difficult for crates and imports to reach manufacturers and retailers. As a result, consumers face shortages, and businesses face unknown inventories and restock timeframes. Could this spell the death of ocean freight?
Not at all; we are seeing shipper demands increase. That heightened demand comes with a desire for accessible, real-time, high-quality ocean container visibility — and this will continue to be crucial to businesses for years to come.
What Is Going on in the Shipping Market?
The oceanic freight bottleneck occurred with consumers switching from services to goods and the rapid growth of eCommerce, all further complicated by the challenges of COVID-19. This holdup led to the ocean freight market experiencing increased volumes and frustrating port congestion, resulting in a demand for improved clarity.
Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) have experienced roughly a decade of Ecommerce growth in about ten months because of the pandemic. However, shipping ports aren't going to increase their capabilities unless there is a drastic change in operating procedure. Despite the static situation of processing capacity, BCOs are left with very few updates or data to see what is happening.
The lack of clarity has left shippers moving cargo in the dark, with no clear strategies that would improve traffic flow. Without data and tracking tech, transports may rush to the next connection point, only to be stuck in another queue while they wait to be picked up by the next ship or truck. When specific transit paths open up, there isn't an effective way to instantly prioritize container traffic for efficiency.
Fully tracking containers is the only way to improve shipping visibility for the BCOs and reduce traffic jams for the shippers. With the right tracking technology in place, companies could include instructions on how to handle certain crates. Additionally, shipping companies could use this data to identify drivers or crane operators who are chronically ignoring instructions and careless with containers.
Why BCOs Will Continue To Demand More Container Visibility
As eCommerce and imports continue to surge, some experts say the supply chain crisis could last until 2023. Because much of the process is out of their hands, shippers need to find ways to reduce total costs, improve customer experience and improve forecasts with realistic lead times.
- Real-time shipping updates allow for accurate forecasts. BCOs want to avoid exorbitant shipping costs but need better insight into their delivery times. Brands can reduce gaps in inventory and provide accurate lead time expectations.
- Improved communication creates a better customer experience. Aside from competing with other businesses, companies must also meet their customers where they are. Personalized and convenient experiences are a huge benefit to today's buyers. Customers want an Amazon-like experience where packages are tracked down to the minute, giving instant clarity on delivery status.
- Clarity for rerouting improves delivery times. Real-time intelligence software can help companies design their supply chains and logistic network in a smarter way. For example, just like Google Maps can help drivers avoid closed roads or slow traffic routes, shipping software can offer rerouting suggestions based on real-time ETAs (estimated time of arrival).
- Improved tracking reduces loss and shipping errors. With improved container visibility, shipments are easier to track and less likely to go to the wrong place. Companies spend less time searching for containers and avoid the hassle of losing valuable goods.
The Benefits of Container Visibility for Manufacturers and BCOs
The VIZION platform compresses and assesses data compiled from multiple sources to support smarter logistics networking. Using VIZION API technologies, one manufacturer increased the accuracy of production plans, reduced delivery lead time, and improved their product availability for customers. With better container visibility, the number of lost reusable containers dropped by a shocking 36% in the first year.
The time required to retrieve and update the container status was reduced by 50% for a much faster process. Overall, annual costs for this manufacturer were lowered by 50%, saving over $600,000.
Not only did the shipping visibility improvement reduce the process's cost and time involvement, but it also boosted customer satisfaction. The gap between available products was improved by 15% to keep products stocked and ready for customers. Plus, the accuracy of production increased by 25%.
All Companies Will Be Software-Based
We are moving into a world where software makes up a significant component of nearly every business task. Shipping should be no different. Businesses have to think about what role software plays in their company. They need to determine what programs can streamline tasks and which employees can execute efficient strategies. To keep up with the competition, companies must adapt quickly to implement upcoming technologies.
Oceanic freight will continue to offer the most cost-effective and sustainable form of moving goods across the Atlantic or Pacific. Shipping visibility demand will increase as companies improve their logistics networks.
VIZION API technologies provides seamless data access that tracks 97% of ocean shipments globally with cloud-based connections to more than 27 shipping lines and 800 seaports. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a VIZION expert today.