HomeBusinessA Basic Guide to Container Tracking for First-Time Shippers

A Basic Guide to Container Tracking for First-Time Shippers

One of the most important aspects of efficient supply chain management is keeping track of your shipments, especially the long-distance international ones. By having high visibility of your shipping containers, you can make rational and fast decisions, if there is a disruption. You can track your containers in real-time by using one of the many container tracking freight tracking companies. These freight companies can inform you of the exact location of your containers at any given point in time.

Importance of Container Tracking

Container tracking assumes importance because the shipping industry involves a lot of uncertainty. After the container is loaded on the vessel, shippers may assume things will go like clockwork. However, several things can go wrong, resulting in delays. For example, the vessel may not leave on time, or a container may have been offloaded accidentally at the wrong port. If the carrier does not realize it in time, the container may be delayed by several weeks or even months before it reaches its destination, by which time, the contents may have been spoiled, and the consignee would have had to make alternate arrangements, sometimes at considerable extra expense. However, when all parties have real-time information regarding the container location, they can avert such incidents or take steps to mitigate the consequence of the delay.

Tracking Capability of Online Tools

Some of the best tools give you automatic updates every time your shipment completes a milestone in its journey so that you can focus on other essential tasks. Advanced tracking tools like one cargo tracking also intimate you of any change in the status or if there is a delay. Some of the typical status changes monitored include the containers getting loaded onto the vessel, the vessel leaving the port of origin, and the vessel arriving at a port of transshipment. The tracker will also inform the completion of loading onto another vessel, its departure, and arrival at the destination port, and receipt of the container by the designated consignee.

What Is Needed for Tracking Containers

To stay updated on the status of your container, you will need access to an online container tracking system, your container number, booking number, or the Master Bill of Lading number. When you book space for your container, the carrier or freight forwarder assigns you a booking number that you can use to identify and track the status of your consignment on an online container tracking system. You can also use the number contained in the Bill of Lading. According to Marine Insight, a bill of Lading is a document given by the carrier to the shipper after accepting the cargo for shipment.


An online container tracking system offers shippers end-to-end visibility over their container status. It means that you can stay updated in real-time on the movement of your freight so that you can take appropriate steps to resolve any issues that might crop up. Given the complexity of modern supply chains, modern shipping container tracking solutions offer matchless efficiency, significant savings in time and cost, and improved customer relations.


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