Tracking bills of lading makes up a fundamental part of the shipping industry. But to track a bill of lading often involves hurdles. However, with the technological advancements, real-time data should become second nature in the industry.

The bill of lading is one of the most critical documents necessary to ship or receive goods. It contains vital and legally essential information that helps track shipments via the bill of lading number.

This booking number links to information such as location, ETA, and possible problems and changes of the shipment itself. It’s crucial to guarantee a reliable and transparent shipping process between shipper, carrier, and consignee.

Road Waybill

Example of a bill of lading.

Track bill of lading and its importance

The bill of lading is a legal document that simultaneously acts as a contract and a receipt. It contains all the critical information needed in shipping – such as type, quantity, and destination. It also provides legal details for import and export and assures the accuracy of the delivered goods. Without the bill of lading, goods can’t be shipped nor received.

The shipping line issues The Master Bill of Lading (MBL). This works as the contract between shipper and carrier. The NVOCC or freight forwarder issues the House Bill of Lading (HBL) to the shipper and the consignee. It acts as a receipt and provides the bill of lading number for the consignee. With this number, shippers and consignees can track the bill of lading and – by that – the containers. Getting information on the shipment date, the current position, and the ETA.

Tracking in the shipping industry

Due to high fragmentation within the supply chain industry, the shipping process comes with several uncertainties and problems. Therefore, tracking and traceability of the shipped goods are fundamental for product safety and security, on-time delivery, troubleshooting of customer issues, and cost control.

Better data exchange between different stakeholders will assure faster and more efficient operations. Route changes and such complexities are solved quicker thanks to real-time information. Such foresight helps save costs and avoid demurrage and detention fees due to delays. Traceability also assures better customer relations, as the end-to-end transparency and the high delivery speed of the shipments became, through the Amazon effect, an expected standard.

On Container xChange, you can track all your bills of lading and containers in the same place. Click on the banner and learn how xChange has made tracking simple and easy.

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Current difficulties with tracking

Tracking the bill of lading is important and helpful, but also time-consuming and complicated. The many stakeholders within the supply chain use different technologies to collect, process, and share their data. The lack of a standardized system makes data sharing impossible.

Furthermore, the gathered data is not used or communicated to other parts within the supply chain but siloed in the internal database. This procedure often leads to the lack or unavailability of the necessary information, i.e., on the carrier sites or through freight forwarders.

Tracking self-owned containers would mean time-intensive manual back-office practices, like writing emails or texting several times a day. Often, the shipment is only traced in parts of the supply chain depending on the methods of the stakeholders. That complicates the tracking process once again. This way, it’s almost impossible to track more than one container at the same time. Container users and owners are faced with an almost impossible situation when it comes to the efficient traceability of their shipment.

Track bill of lading on xChange

For this purpose, xChange created xChange Tracking. A smart tracking solution that gathers all necessary information in the same place. xChange Tracking is a digital platform for container users and owners to organize and track one container or an entire fleet.

Our modern technology provides visibility and transparency of all data without complicated back-office operations. Information such as location, ETA, container number, and much more are transmitted in real-time and automatically updated. The system informs the users if the container is close to its destination or if there is an issue like a delay or change of route or destination. It also provides an overview of free days to avoid demurrage and detention charges. This way, xChange members can foresee upcoming problems and delays and react accordingly.

xChange Tracking also allows you to track your containers comfortably from the same place. Information coming together comprehensively on an intuitive digital platform, accessible from everywhere. It reduces time-consuming tracking operations and allows container tracking across different carriers. It gives the possibility to integrate it with the equipment management system or just export data as a CSV or an excel file. xChange Tracking leads your business to more efficiency, time- and cost-saving.

Take your business to the next level by clicking on the banner and learn how xChange can help you track your entire fleet in one place.

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