Crux Systems Insights

ETAs and planning for your container arrivals

December 7, 2018 by Jennifer Colvin |

Container tracking

It's difficult to plan for your container arrivals if one source says the vessel is estimated to arrive this week, and another source says it's estimated to arrive next week.

This kind of thing happens more often than you may realize. In fact, we've found that 30% of ocean cargo data is either incomplete, missing, or flat-out wrong. That's one of the problems we set out to solve with our container tracking platform.

To address the data quality issues for ocean cargo, we first compile information from more than 100 different sources, including terminals across North America, all major shipping lines, TMS systems, and more. Our algorithms normalize the data, fill in missing information, and verify accuracy.

Sometimes, however, there are discrepancies in the data. When this happens, our operations team steps in to weed out the conflicting information and ensure that what you see on your dashboard is accurate and up-to-date.

Even then, if you're comparing the information on your dashboard with something else, you may see differences. That's because we don't simply pass through data from any one source.

What you see on your dashboard is the data that our algorithms have compiled and determined is the most accurate, based on our knowledge of terminals and shipping lines, and the insight we've gained from tracking hundreds of thousands of containers into North America.

Over the course of your container's journey, the estimated time of arrival for your container at the terminal may change as the vessel gets closer to the destination. Weather, schedules, issues with other port calls, and other factors all can contribute to a change in the estimated time of arrival. Your dashboard is automatically updated when there is new information available about your shipments.

By the time the vessel is a few days out from the terminal, you can be confident in the ETA for planning purposes. Once the vessel arrives, you'll see the actual time of arrival on your dashboard, along with a lot more data. In addition, you can set  alarms on your containers to get notified when they've been discharged, so you'll know the moment they're available for pickup.