Container tracking is the simplest way to stay updated on your container’s whereabouts and receive news about your box while in transit. Learn all about what this process is and how it can benefit you in this blog.

You don’t have to be in the industry for too long to already know the importance of container tracking and news. Whether you’re a start-up company or an industry giant, container tracking is essential to you. Staying updated by keeping track of your containers as it moves is one of the most essential things to do to counter any setbacks.

To do that, you also need to know the ins and outs of what this means and how the process works, so let’s journey through container tracking and news, and learn more about its importance

What is container tracking and news?

Container tracking, as the name suggests, is the process of tracking your container’s whereabouts while in transit and receiving any updates about the box itself. Perhaps the carrier decided on a new route; it would be beneficial for you to know exactly what changes from the time your container leaves a depot to when it arrives at its destination. It’s also good to know if any damage occurs so that you’ll be able to handle it as soon as possible.

Let’s put it this way, you’re shipping a big order from a fancy overseas shoe brand, and they need the order for their launch. You’ve followed the process and made the shipment; however, you haven’t tracked your container nor are you able to receive any updates on the status of your box. A storm hits and your shipment falls overboard – lost at sea.

By the time you’re informed, the brand already decided to go with Bob’s shipment instead. Bob uses the Container Control feature on Container xChange, so he tracked his container easily by receiving hourly news of the container’s status. This way, he was able to keep track of his box with near real-time updates and keep his clients up to date too. You too can leverage on our platform and avoid mishaps like this in future. Click on the banner below to learn more about how this feature works and can benefit you.

Benefits of container tracking and news

Not only does container tracking and news keep you updated and informed, but there are many more ways you and your company can benefit from using a container tracking tool. Here are a few of them listed below:

Enhanced security You can make sure that your assets are not being stolen or used in another way by tracking the whereabouts of your box.
Reduces manual labor You no longer have to manually check up on the status of your container if you use container tracking. Most  tracking systems automatically update, so you’ll receive news in real time. 
Improves customer relations You have visibility into the location and status of containers, as well as more precise information regarding the projected arrival time of your box. 
Operational efficiencies Container tracking can streamline container operations by providing you with updates on the container’s movement. You can then work more efficiently knowing the status of your shipment.

Once you see how container tracking can be beneficial, understanding the process becomes much easier.

Process of container tracking and news

  • Booking number – First, you’ll need a booking number which you can get after booking the container, or simply use the container number. 
  • Software – Next, you’ll need a reliable container tracking tool. Use the container tracking software provided by the company from whom which you’ve booked the container with. 
  • Track your containerLastly, you’ll need to add the booking number/container number into the container tracking tool and track. Most tracking tools give you and get updates about your box in real-time.

You can also track your container with something called a Bill of Lading. This falls under the important documents you’ll need when tracking containers. If you forgot about what documents you need, then let’s have a quick refresh:

Important documents for container tracking

When it comes to any kind of shipment, having all your documents in order is vital. It simply speeds up the process and makes it an easy and efficient one. You might have heard of several documents necessary for ocean shipping such as:

  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial invoice
  • Freight shipping forms
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export packing list
  • Insurance certificate

However, when it comes to tracking your box, knowing about a Bill of Lading is especially handy.

What is a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is a document that a carrier issues to confirm receipt of cargo for shipping. This document is issued by the carrier to the shipper and describes the type, number, and destination of the items in transit. It can serve as a contract between shipper and carrier and can also help you track your box as you can use the bill of lading number to track your container. It’s used in the same way as a booking number or container number.

Speaking of, let’s dive into the different ways you’re able to track your container and receive news of your container

3 ways to track your container and get news of your box

There are three ways you can track and receive news of your container while it’s being shipped to the desired destination. The first is with your container number, the second is with your booking number, and the third is with your vessel name. In case these are simply words to you, here are more in-depth explanations

Container number

A container number is an alpha-numeric combination of seven digits and four letters used to identify containers across the world. Each container is classified by the International Standards Organization (ISO). This is done through the Bureau International des Containers (BIC). When providing container numbers, the BIC follows ISO 6346.

Container numbers give useful information on the cargo, transit, possession, and status of the cargo container, so you can use this as a means of tracking your container.

Booking number

Your cargo carrier or its agent uses a booking number to make a shipping reservation for your shipment. The booking number is issued by the shipping firm when you book your container. This is quite similar to a container number and can be used to track your box as well as stay updated on any changes made.

Vessel name

Each vessel has a distinct seven-digit vessel number that is preceded by the letters IMO. This number remains with the vessel until it is dismantled and never changes. The records based on the IMO number offer a separate audit trail. If you know the IMO number or the name of the vessel carrying your cargo, you’ll be able to track the container with ease.

container tracking 3 ways

Another way you could track your containers easily is through the Container Control feature 3on Container xChange. With the Booking Manager option, you’ll be able to keep a detailed record of your container and track its journey in near real-time, which we’ll get into detail a bit later on. For now, if you haven’t heard of API tracking, here’s a brief refresher:

Learn more about API container tracking: 

Application programming interface container tracking (API container tracking) is a set of standards and programming guidelines for using web-based software applications. As a result, software systems connect with one another without involvement of the people. The information updates instantly. 

A shipping API connection streamlines your data collecting process and provides you greater control over your shipment by giving you information in real-time. Various shipping information is exchanged through this connection. It provides locations, the expected arrival date, finds bottlenecks, and cuts down on delays. This leaves little room for error and human intervention. 

Track your box with Container Control on Container xChange

Container xChange is the world’s first neutral online platform for trading and leasing containers globally, but did you know that you can also track your boxes with our Container Control feature?

Container Control is an easy-to-use feature where you’ll be able to manage all container operations in one place – track your containers with the integrated API tracking system and receive live updates on your box. So, you can have more independence and flexibility.

Container control splits into two sections: Release reference and Booking manager. Release reference collects data straight from the source, meaning you can track your box as it moves, every step of the way. Booking manager lets you keep a record of all your bookings and monitor your container’s journey.

It doesn’t end there; Container Control also offers benefits like:

  • Shipment information
  • Real-time tracking
  • Little room for human error
  • Better planning
  • Manageable admin for paperwork
  • Streamlined container logistics and operations

If you’re intrigued to learn more about container tracking and Container Control, our team of well-versed experts are more than happy to provide you with all the information you need!

Container tracking and news: FAQs

What is container tracking?

Container tracking, as the name suggests, is the process of tracking your container’s whereabouts while in transit, and receiving any updates about the box itself

What is a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is a document that a carrier issues to confirm receipt of cargo for shipping. Usually issued by the carrier to the shipper and describes the type, number, and destination of the items in transit

How can I track my container?

There are three ways to track your container. The first is with your container number, the second is with your booking number, and the third is with your vessel name.