Carrier schedule reliability has for long been a challenge for shippers and forwarders. However, it’s possible to deal with the lack of reliability – saving industry participants a substantial amount of time and money.
Have you ever waited in vain for your cargo to arrive at the estimated time of arrival?
Chances are that you have – and you’re far from the only one. More than every fifth commercial vessel arrive at their destination a day later than planned, according to MarineTraffic.
Not only is it annoying that the container containing the goods your customers are expecting is late. It is also an expensive ordeal, both when it comes to rescheduling logistics at the last minute and the risk of losing future business with your customers.
Carrier schedule reliability makes ETAs doubtful
As shippers rely heavily on ETAs, one of the biggest issues has, for many, become last-minute rescheduling of logistics.
That every five commercial vessel docks one day later than its ETA is one thing. Add on top that 50 % of all vessels arrive more than 8 hours late, according to eeSea. For every hour a truck driver is waiting for the container to arrive, money is flowing out of the wallet. And so it continues through the supply chain until the cargo owners receive their goods.
Hours can quickly become expensive if the shipper or forwarder hasn’t been made aware of the delay. Something that happens regularly. However, often shippers and forwarders are informed about a delay – but not long prior to the ETA.
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Forwarders and shippers risk losing even more money when cargo is late. Their customers will be waiting for their commodities. Just how much patience will they have when they can’t get a new and exact ETA?
Reasons for lacking carrier schedule reliability
When a shipper or forwarder sign a contract with a carrier, they agree that the arriving date can vary with a day in most carrier contracts. That means, legally, a container can arrive a day early and a day late.
Exactly, when a vessel arrives at a port is subject to outside influence. Because as much as cargo owners rely on the carriers’ schedule reliability, carriers depend on the reliability of ports.
At ports, it is up to the port workers and authorities when a vessel is ready to continue on its route. So, if something goes wrong with, for instance, loading or unloading the containers the vessel will be late. In effect, making the vessel behind its schedule.
In this case, the carrier has the option to sail faster. If they choose to do so, it will increase the fueling cost significantly. The carrier, therefore, has a decision to make: Pay the extra expense of sailing faster or risk losing future business from unhappy clients. Seeing as large numbers of carriers often experience delays, spending extra money on fuel will rarely be the option the carrier opts for.
Other causes threatening reliability
But a carrier can’t only be late. It can also be the other way around. At times a vessel is ready to leave the terminal earlier than planned. If that’s the case, the vessel will be ahead of the ETA – another problem for the cargo owners.
The weather and other outside influences can also have an impact on when a vessel arrives at a port.
Recently carriers are accused of making their transit times too tight. Times, they would never be able to live up to. Those accusations haven’t been substantiated.
Stay on top of carrier schedule reliability
It’s nothing new that carriers arrive a day late or a day early. In many cases, the real issue is a lack of communication. If the shippers and forwarders were informed in proper time about changing ETAs it would put a dampen on many problems. As earlier received notices would reduce the current disruption and costs.
Many people have problems with tracking their containers on carriers’ homepages. Often they use several platforms hoping some of the containers are tracked – and updated.
However, staying updated with new ETAs and the whereabouts of your containers doesn’t have to be so difficult. With xChange’s smart container tracking, My Fleet, you can track all your containers in one place.
Track your fleet with xChange
Container tracking doesn’t have to be confusing, time-consuming, nor fruitless. We all know how important it is to know when containers are loaded or unloaded from a vessel. With xChange’s smart tracking platform you can track all the containers you use. That includes both containers used on xChange and containers across carriers.
With xChange Tracking, you have all your pickup and drop-off references in one place. We track the containers through several channels – giving you the best and most accurate information to lean on.
The tracking solution sends you pick-up reminders, gives you tracking alerts, and sends you notifications. You don’t have to worry about anything. You will also find ETAs, container moves, and shipping details in the same place.
Do you want to know more about the xChange smart container tracking in real-time? Click on the banner below and learn all about it.