The days when cargo was loaded into a container, placed on a ship and sent off into the unknown until it reached its destination are long gone. Today’s shippers want to know where their cargo is every step of the way, understand the reason for any delays and have the exact estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) for their goods. They also have to be able to plan out, book and execute their freight without having to use multiple different systems, spreadsheets, phone calls and email to get the job done.
Thanks to advancements in technology, good ocean freight visibility is more attainable than ever. For example, IntelliTrans’ new Global Supply Chain Visibility Platform (GVP) for ocean shipments gives shippers high levels of visibility across ocean, truck, rail, and barge. The unified platform allows companies to plan, book, execute and track ocean shipments all in one place and provides visibility for the entire lifecycle of the ocean shipment.
Of course, you can’t effectively and efficiently manage your multimodal shipping on visibility alone. As the only company to offer a platform that enables a shipper to plan, execute and track their ocean, rail, truck and barge shipments all in one place, IntelliTrans acts as a “Mission Control” for companies that are shipping on some or all of these modes.
Here’s why this is important: Other software providers may offer ocean tracking capabilities, but if a shipper wants to use those systems to check the shipping schedules to/from a port, or book space on a ship, they have to go to a different system and enter all of that information manually. With IntelliTrans, they can do all of this on one platform while also getting historical shipping, arrival and cost data needed for analysis.
A Supply Chain Visibility Platform for Planning, Booking & Execution of Ocean Cargo Shipments
Bernard Cohen, Senior Product Manager at IntelliTrans, says the company’s new ocean visibility capabilities were built in response to customer demand plus an understanding that the more transportation can be managed on a single platform, the better. “This new addition supplements what we already offer from a multimodal perspective,” said Cohen, “and gives companies one system for all modes versus having to access different systems, spreadsheets and emails to handle tracking and execution.”
Here’s how it works:
- Using the platform’s ocean schedules you plan, book and execute your freight.
- An electronic bill of lading (BOL) is generated and the container is ready to ship.
- Once the container is put on the ship to start its journey shippers have complete visibility at both the container and vessel level using GPS location trackers (which report on an hour-by-hour basis).
- If you’re also using truck, rail and/or barge, the same capabilities extend across each of those modes and all related data is available in a single platform.
In the absence of a unified platform like IntelliTrans’ GVP, companies have to visit every carrier’s website and enter all of their shipment information manually. In many cases, this means visiting 10-15 carrier sites (for every load) and starting the booking process from scratch because the historical information isn’t stored on those sites. “With our platform, the data never disappears,” said Cohen. “You can use it over and over again, run your key performance indicators (KPIs) and access the dashboards whenever you need them.”
For companies accustomed to managing multiple modes on disparate systems, carrier websites and email, the move to a consolidated platform is a real game-changer. Not only do the planning, booking and execution processes become significantly easier and less manually intensive, but companies also gain in-depth visibility into their global supply chains. This leads to fewer errors, less risk and higher assurance that goods will get from point A to point B in a secure and timely manner.
This, in turn, leads to happier customers and gives shippers benchmarks that they can use to make better decisions, improve their transportation approaches and even attract tech-savvy employees in an era where labor is hard to come by and often even harder to retain. “Customers are asking for better visibility and more accurate delivery target times,” said Cohen, “and employees need automation that helps eliminate manual processes. IntelliTrans give them both of these, and more.”
Ready to Handle Any Ocean Cargo Load
Since the invention of containerized freight in 1956, international import / export of goods has grown to millions of TEUs per year. However, managing this mode can be very complex, requiring knowledge of ocean lines, what lanes they serve, what schedules they have, and the processes within which to work with them. IntelliTrans helps shippers address these challenges by serving as their “mission control” for those shipments plus all their truck, rail, and barge shipments.
IntelliTrans’ GVP features connections to over 100 ocean carriers, NVOCCs and freight forwarders, which means shippers don’t have to reach out to each carrier by email, phone or via their websites. The ocean platform covers 100 carriers, 425,000 port pairs, and 18 million schedules, which means shippers have a wide range of carriers and schedules on deck and ready to cover their loads.