FourKites Ocean Visibility: A Next Generation Solution

FourKites ocean visibilityWhen it comes to real-time visibility, the market is becoming more important and more robust than ever before. Billions of venture capital dollars of investment are being poured into companies that can integrate real-time visibility data with transportation to provide a more informed ETA for shippers and carriers.

The need to know where products are, whether they are on the way to the warehouse, store, or customer, when there are delays, and alerts for these delays, is critical to ensure a positive experience. The rise of visibility solutions at the container level is helping to drive the transportation execution market to new heights. However, the biggest problem when it comes to providing accurate and updated ETAs is the difference in modes.

As I mentioned in a previous article, for over-the-road shipments, getting bumped to the next truck can add a day or two to the overall transit time. For ocean cargo, however, if a shipment gets bumped to the next ship, it can add up to 15 days to the transit time.

FourKites Ocean Visibility Platform

FourKites, a global leader in real-time supply chain visibility, recently launched its Dynamic Ocean SM platform for visibility, rate, and documentation management. The FourKites ocean visibility solution recognizes a few important pieces of the ocean visibility puzzle. First and foremost, ocean visibility goes well beyond the question of “what time will my container get there?” The platform also takes into consideration questions such as, “If I use a freight forwarder, is it still my shipment or is it under a different contract?” and, “How can I best manage my documents so that my containers don’t get stuck at the port of discharge?”

What sets the FourKites ocean visibility solution apart from others is that the visibility it offers for ocean shipments does not stop at the port. While other solutions focus just on tracking containers, FourKites is the only platform that offers door-to-door precision tracking (spanning port, yard, rail and multimodal coverage) together with highly accurate predictive ETAs and collaborative workflow and document management features. To that end, FourKites also has an extremely robust yard management solution — Dynamic Yard® — that provides real-time insights across your yard, including trailer inventory, SKU-level visibility, and flexible and configurable      custom yard zones, in addition to unprecedented levels of collaboration.

Unlike other visibility platforms, Dynamic Ocean offers comprehensive multimodal visibility for each leg of the journey, alongside rate and booking management, and document management/visibility. End-to-end visibility with Dynamic Ocean hits upon seven different stages throughout a shipment’s journey.

  1. Shipment at origin. This stage includes emptying the truck upon arrival, and then loading it with the next shipment. The load is tracked through departure with an ETA to the final delivery. This initial ETA is important for understanding when the shipment will arrive at and move through a port.
  2. In-Transit to Port. During transit on the ocean, this stage uses technology to track the real-time position of the container and give a more appropriate ETA.
  3. Port of Loading. This leg takes into consideration any event involving the vessel, its schedule, and events. Additionally, it looks at the ETA of the different legs of the journey, and any exception and alerts that arise during transit.
  4. Ocean In-Transit. This stage uses technology to track the latest position of the vessel in real-time, and adjust its ETA accordingly, depending on a variety of scenarios.
  5. Port of Discharge. Port of discharge looks at other vessel, container, and port events, and how they can impact the overall timing of the shipment.
  6. In-Transit to Destination. This stage integrates over-the-road with ocean or rail tracking to give real-time updates on the container’s location and update the ETA to the most accurate time frame possible.
  7. Final Destination. The final stage monitors ETAs and delays on the network, tracks actual arrival times and records the proof-of-deliveries.

Final Thought

There are a number of technologies that are enhancing transportation visibility systems. For a truer ETA, companies are using IoT to use sensor data from containers to know when and where a shipment will arrive. Machine learning is also important in transportation visibility systems, as real-time visibility solutions leverage machine learning to learn more about constraints for a more accurate ETA. In the end, understanding the ocean leg of the journey is perhaps the most important aspect for trans-continental shipments. FourKites’ recently released Dynamic Ocean solution can help to make the ocean less of an unknown when it comes to global shipping.

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