Container tracking in the post-COVID world

With the current pandemic exposing the fragility of the global supply chains, it has become more imperative than ever to adopt a system that enables real-time container tracking. Investing in automated monitoring equipment for tracking exactly where your containers are has become as important as shipping those same containers.

At the Digital Container Summit that was held recently, Wolfgang Lehmacher, an evangelist in the field of logistics and supply chain said, “The companies that had more visibility, that had better tools, did much better in this situation. Because they knew where their suppliers were. They knew where their goods were. They knew when goods were turned away at the border and stored somewhere. Because they had that real-time information that told them that something was going wrong. Then they could work on the solutions.”

Visibility is the key to avoid major disruptions in the supply chain. With technology at our fingertips, it has become possible to track precise locations of all your containers as and when updated. Container tracking is a necessity that cannot be ignored.

The undeniable impact of the pandemic on container tracking

The severity of the coronavirus on the shipping and logistics industry has resulted in a serious decline in international trade. With most of the logistics providers scaling down their operations drastically, the container shipping industry has been operating at a minimal pace.

As per the statistics released by Alphaliner, 30% to 60% outbound shipping capacity that has been withdrawn in Asia-Europe marine routines has severely disrupted trade activities.

With the government imposing strict measures on reducing workforces and shutting down warehouses, there has been severe congestion at the ports. Failure to pick up cargo or containers being misplaced due to warehouses being chock full are some issues that freight operators have had to deal with. They are even sending back cargo to their origin to reduce port congestion. There has also been a major decrease in the demand and supply for freight operators. 

Covid-19 has highlighted the need for real-time cargo tracking solutions. A report by Research and Markets stated that the number of active tracking devices deployed for cargo loading units including trailers, intermodal containers, rail freight wagons, air cargo containers, cargo boxes and pallets reached 7.5 million worldwide in 2019. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.4 per cent, this number is expected to reach 23.2 million by 2024.

Current scenario…

There are two major ways that containers are being tracked. One way is through location tracking – making the containers smart with technology. The other way is the more traditional approach – through communication.

When containers are tracked through communication, the logistics manager normally verifies each checkpoint to make sure the container is where it’s supposed to be. You will have to go to the website, insert the container number, Bill of Lading, or booking number in a search field manually and check for updates. For each container and there is no way to store this data anywhere. Each time that you need to check for updates, the entire process has to be carried out from scratch. Not only is this frustrating but also extremely time-consuming.

To combat such challenges, there have been interesting advancements in technology where container tracking is not so complicated. Any simple and efficient automated container tracking solution is capable of doing all this and plenty more, thereby streamlining your operations successfully.

What lies in store for the container tracking process?

Digital automation is the go-to answer for most of the challenges faced by industries in this era. Companies that have already implemented end-to-end container tracking solutions will be in a better position to handle the post-COVID world.

The idea being, to stay in constant touch with the freight vessel, companies need to invest in state-of-the-art container tracking systems. With prompt updates on the movement of the shipment, any rerouting or delays can be dealt with proactively.

Digital transformation initiatives that include enhanced web interfaces to allow more self-service quotes and transactions, as well as a unified dashboard for tracking cargo shipments and charter services, are becoming increasingly popular as freight supply chain operations are growing in volume.

IoT-powered radio frequency identification (RFID) allows you to effectively track shipments through the supply chain, 24/7. Advanced machine learning can analyse which routes and ports are the most cost-effective.

Handling paperwork and avoiding expired licenses such as Goods Consignment Notes or GCNs or e-Way bills becomes easy with a container tracking platform that automatically updates compliance paperwork. 

GoComet comes well-armed with sophisticated digital automation technology that can help you streamline your operations, provide deep end-to-end visibility and slash costs, across your supply chain network. To know more, reach us here.