Tracking shipping containers involves using various technologies and systems to monitor the location and status of containers as they move along the supply chain. Here are some methods you can use to track shipping containers:
1. Shipping Line Tracking Websites:
- Most shipping lines provide online tracking services on their websites. You can enter the container number (also known as the container ID or BIC code) to get real-time updates on the container’s location and status.
2. Third-Party Tracking Platforms:
- There are third-party tracking platforms that aggregate information from multiple shipping lines, making it easier to track containers from different carriers in one place. Examples include CargoSmart, SeaIntel, and Track & Trace.
3. Mobile Apps:
- Many shipping lines offer mobile apps that allow you to track containers using your smartphone. Download the app for your preferred shipping line and use it to monitor your containers.
4. IoT and GPS Devices:
- Some shipping containers are equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) devices and GPS trackers. These devices provide real-time location and status updates, including temperature and humidity monitoring for sensitive cargo.
5. Port Authorities and Terminals:
- Port authorities and terminal operators often provide tracking services that allow you to monitor containers as they arrive, depart, and pass through different ports.
6. RFID and Barcode Technology:
- RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and barcode technology are used to track containers as they move through various checkpoints in the supply chain. This can include gates at ports, distribution centers, and warehouses.
7. Customs Authorities:
- Some customs authorities provide tracking services that allow you to monitor the status of containers as they go through customs inspections and clearance processes.
8. Supply Chain Management Systems:
- If you’re using a supply chain management system, it may integrate with tracking services to provide visibility into your containers’ movements.
9. Shipping Line Customer Service:
- If you’re unable to track a container using online tools, you can contact the shipping line’s customer service for assistance. They can provide updates on the container’s location and status.
Remember that the availability of tracking information can vary based on the shipping line, the route, and the technology used. It’s a good practice to keep the container number handy and check tracking periodically to stay updated on your cargo’s progress.