Let’s say the vessel bringing your shipment from overseas has just arrived in port. Unbeknownst to you, an unexpected work slowdown has affected offloading and started a domino effect on the ultimate ETA of the delivery. Your staff is trying their best to monitor the progress of the container movement, but information isn’t readily available. Gathering this info will take some time because it’s all done manually through phone calls, emails, websites—even faxes in some cases. In other words, there will be a buzz of communication activity that provides less than current information, takes up time, adds frustration and more often than not, increases the cost of doing business.
When it comes to managing your inbound logistics, getting your arms around all of the variables involved in tracking your cargo can often be a Herculean task. You may know the ATA of the vessel carrying your shipment and the terminal where it will dock, but that may be where a solid line of information stops. When will the cargo be ready for pickup? What kind of delays could you be up against? What kind of extra fees can you expect? This visibility gap in the supply chain is frequently referred to as the “black hole” of port and terminal data.