The past few years have served as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities in ocean supply chains. Labour shortages, material shortages, the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing political tensions, and conflicts, to name a few, disrupted the flow of goods and services, causing uncertainty along the adjacent shipping routes.

While these unprecedented disruptions appear to be settling down, 2023 presents a new set of risks and challenges for ocean freight stakeholders, with some continuing from the pandemic era. Many large-scale logistics players have turned to and invested in visibility technologies to ensure that these past mistakes are not repeated. However, SME logistics firms have been left behind, struggling with delays, costly disruptions, and dissatisfied customers due to limited insights into their ocean freight shipments. The cost and complexity of implementing high-end visibility solutions have been a major hindrance.

This article outlines the rationale behind adopting a visibility platform, together with practical use cases for businesses of all sizes.

Why ocean freight visibility?

Ocean freight visibility revolutionises the way businesses manage ocean freight by providing real-time tracking and monitoring capabilities for ocean shipments. Advanced visibility platforms go a step further by providing predictive insights on cargo’s whereabouts, predicted estimated time of arrival (ETA), and any potential delays or disruptions.

This visibility is made possible through advanced technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, AIS transponders, and sophisticated tracking systems. With access to such data, businesses can proactively address issues, optimise logistics, and make well-informed decisions to ensure the smooth and efficient flow of goods.

Benefits and real-world scenarios

1. Build trust and improve customer satisfaction

Today’s modern customers are always on the lookout for delivery updates on their shipments in transit. Data from a visibility platform can provide a better experience for your customers. It allows you to identify potentially late shipments and alert customers so they can proactively better manage expectations.

  • Visibility adoption use case

A global automotive logistics company delivering over 60,000 shipments to customers all over the world. To improve the customer experience, the executive team turned to visibility to effectively manage customer requests about deliveries.

  • Challenge

Data from carrier websites were unreliable due to latency in receiving data, and the company’s approach was inefficient, using multiple tracking websites and incomplete data.

  • Solution

By adopting SeaVantage’s Ocean Freight Visibility platform via API, customers gain real-time visibility for all major carriers on a single dashboard and can provide their customers with more precise delivery ETAs by leveraging the predictive ETAs provided by SeaVantage.

  • Results

– Enhanced track and trace

– Improved management of exceptions

– Expanded to the 3PL market

2. Reduce costs and fines

The lack of visibility data on ocean shipments can lead to excessive penalties and costs. Instances have arisen in which customers imposed fines on suppliers for shipments that were either delayed, arrived too early, or failed to meet the “OTIF” (On Time In Full) requirements. For other companies, the absence of visibility means spending extra funds to efficiently plan their freight strategy to mitigate unexpected disruptions. Using a visibility platform allows companies to identify potential hiccups in their ocean supply chain and plan ahead to significantly decrease or avoid these fines and costs.

  • Visibility adoption use case

A global manufacturing company charters vessels to ensure the timely pick-up and delivery of raw materials for its production processes. To reduce the cost of excessive vessel chartering, the company turned to visibility to effectively monitor congestion and streamline its vessel chartering strategy.

  • Challenge

The company incurred excessive logistics costs due to over-chartering vessels in an attempt to prevent potential congestion and disruptions in the transportation of raw materials and finished goods.

  • Solution

To reduce the cost of excessive vessel chartering, the manufacturing company turned to SeaVantage’s Port Congestion Visibility Platform to effectively monitor congestion and streamline its vessel chartering strategy, ensuring the timely pick-up and delivery of raw materials for its production processes.

  • Results

– Significant reduction in the cost of chartering vessels

– Proactive troubleshooting of events

– Efficient logistics planning

3. Save time and increase logistics efficiency

The absence of visibility results in both internal and external inefficiencies within logistics teams responsible for transportation-related tasks. While logistics teams typically have information about when a shipment is scheduled for pick-up, they frequently lack updates regarding its status during transit. Adopting a visibility platform provides real-time updates and automated alerts, eliminating the need for manual tracking and constant communication with carriers, saving time that would be spent making enquiries and checking on the shipment’s progress.

  • Visibility adoption use case

A medium-sized freight forwarding company arranges and coordinates the transportation of shipments from multiple clients. It turned to visibility to streamline tracking and provide clients with real-time updates on the status and location of their shipments.

  • Challenge

The customer service team of the company was manually monitoring individual shipments on different carrier websites and constantly communicating with carriers to make enquiries and check on the shipment progress.

  • Solution

By signing up for SeaVantage’s Cargo Insight platform, the company was able to manage customer shipments from different carriers on a single dashboard, together with advanced predictive ETA insights, and receive alerts on arrival or shipment delays.

  • Results

– Reduced employees’ time spent on mundane tasks

– Anticipated and managed unforeseen risks

– Streamlined communication and efficient problem resolution

In today’s market, the importance of adopting a visibility platform cannot be overstated. The cost savings from real-time ocean shipping visibility alone justify investing in a visibility platform. Other top-line benefits include improved customer service, efficient logistics planning, lowering detention and demurrage costs, and streamlining inbound deliveries.

About us

SeaVantage is a fast-growing company headquartered in Korea. Founded in 2018, we specialise in providing ocean visibility solutions tailored to meet the needs of stakeholders in the maritime industry.

We empower our clients with real-time and predictive data insights, providing a better approach to proactive planning and effective management of ocean freight. Our platform covers over 400,000 global vessels, 5,000+ ports, and more than 95% of container carrier schedules.

This article is written and sponsored by SeaVantage, the innovative ocean visibility platform.

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