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Overcoming lack of transparency in supply chains

How ocean visibility and data solutions can overcome lack of transparency and increase supply chain insight

In recent months, COVID-19 has put an incredible pressure on the global supply chains.

While we all have had to stay at home, online shopping has peaked and an increasing amount of goods have literally been transported across the globe. However, ocean-going transport of containers is still outside real-time tracking – until now. If the shipping industry prioritizes to embrace genuine real-time tracking technology, the transport “black box” may be opened. And the demand for such a service is already here; would you like to know exactly when your package arrives? I thought so.

According to UNCTAD, maritime logistics represents 90% of the entire world supply chain. Therefore, ports are an integral part of global trade. The global freight market is under extreme pressure for the moment, and port congestion results in container vessel delays which might lead to demurrage charges for the cargo owners.

The lack of transparency in supply chains is an increasing problem for the container shipping market. Congestion in large ports such as in Long Beach, L.A., not to mention the chaos caused by the Ever Given blockage of the Suez Canal in March, are the major reasons why container vessels are delayed. Additionally, if the port facilities do not match the increasing number of vessels waiting to unload their goods at the scheduled time, it might consequently lead to various disruptions within the supply chain.

According to maritime research and analysis firm, Sea-Intelligence, only 56% of all container ships arrived on time in September 2020. The remaining 44% arrived on average 4.8 days delayed.

To create transparency in the ocean freight market, real-time status on containers and true ocean visibility can help cargo owners predict otherwise unforeseeable delays. Advanced technologies like machine learning fused with online data, historical trends and planned schedules can provide cargo owners and freight forwarders with precise ETA forecasts, which they can use to manage demurrage and detention costs through optimization of free time.
Container vessel delays are a huge problem to most container shipment and logistic companies. Lack of visibility in the supply chain leads to detention and demurrage charges and lost orders, but when you can track containers easily and get notifications about delays in time to make adjustments, you will save both time and money otherwise spent on manually checking for container status updates.

In other words, all parties in the supply chain would benefit from having access to precise, machine learning-based ETAs for container vessels.

And the future is here already.

Today, more and more customers request more precise and reliable information – and data is available. Being able to service customers with exact time of arrival, information about delays and exception handling is worth a lot and forms the basis for new business models that take advantage of our increasing online shopping.

The question is whether the shipping industry is ready?

Martin Dommerby Kristiansen, CEO, GateHouse Maritime Published August 10, 2021 IN / News / Maritime / Gatehouse
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