What is estimated time of departure? 

Estimated time of departure, or ETD, is the date/time when the vessel or container is expected to start off from the port of origin. ETD is significant as it gives information about the vessel exit and informs receivers about the expected scheduled times for the destination port.

Based on the estimated time of departure (ETD), carriers calculate the expected time of arrival (ETA) and estimated time of completion/delivery as part of the shipment flow.

How to Calculate Estimated Time of Departure

The booking confirmation sent by the ocean carrier or the freight forwarder typically includes an estimated time of departure. It is calculated by considering several factors such as:

  • Vessel schedule
  • Halts in between for maintenance and bunkering
  • Weather conditions in the several ports, both at the port of origin and while en route.
  • Port congestion and equipment
  • Labor and other factors.

These elements that affect the estimated time are further classified by some businesses that specialize in marine delay insurances. These include:

  • Shore-side factors include conditions like labor unrest, traffic jams, infrastructural challenges, and transportation issues in ports.
  • Ship-related factors include factors like weather delays and ship mechanical breakdowns among others.

Calculating the estimated time of departure is important as it helps the consignees with berth planning, tugs arrangement, shore leave, departure schedule planning, and other operations.

Estimated Time of Departure v/s Actual Time of Departure

As the name goes, the estimated time of departure is the predicted time when the vessel is expected to leave from the origin port based on ideal conditions. The actual time of departure is the real-time at which the vessel departs from the port.

Both of them can be the same or vary based on numerous factors. For example, a vessel’s estimated time of departure can be 0600 EST, but it actually departs at 0700 EST (actual time of departure) due to container loading delay.

ETD: Departure or Delivery?

ETD can refer to two terms: Estimated time of departure and Estimated time of delivery.

The estimated time of departure (ETD) is the date/time at which the vessel is expected to depart from the origin port. Based on this, carriers calculate estimated time of arrival (ETA).

On the other hand, the estimated time of delivery (ETD) is the date/time when the shipment is expected to be delivered at the final destination or the consignee’s address. ETD is planned according to the last-mile delivery operations.

Estimated time of departure (ETD) → Estimated time of arrival (ETA) → Estimated time of delivery (ETD) 

Terms related to estimated time of departure

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