Managing Unexpected Disruptions to Your Shipments with IoT Technology

The seas, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, have not been quiet this season. Numerous typhoons and hurricanes have impacted container port operations in recent months. The storms may suddenly change directions, and supply chain disruptions can be unpredictable.

For example, the recent Hurricane Irma in the US caused all container ports in Florida, as well as several other ports in the region including Savannah, Charleston, and Freeport, to close. Based on CargoSmart’s data, container vessels, with an original ETA during September 9-14, skipped their scheduled ports 17 times due to the storm. While the ports have reopened, 12 container vessels were waiting outside of Savannah as of September 15. The vessels that skipped ports and the vessel queues outside the affected ports have resulted in shipment delays.

When incidents happen, shippers often do not have immediate and clear information about which ports and terminals are impacted, where their shipments’ vessels are, and when the vessels will arrive at their destinations. Without complete information from carriers, shippers may need to spend a lot of time checking with their carriers about each shipment. Moreover, shipment delays may lead to additional costs for re-planning the downstream activities and compensating customers for missed delivery windows.

How can shippers effectively manage the unexpected disruptions to their shipments? Today, shippers can leverage the Internet of Things (IoT). For years, every vessel has communicated its position, direction, and speed through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) so that captains can see nearby vessel locations. Today, we are able to visually represent the data so that shippers can track vessels, see if schedules are on time, and even anticipate arrival times, even when carriers do not provide the information.

Here are two helpful tips and tools that leverage IoT technology to help you minimize the impact of the disruptions:

Respond Faster with Live Data – IoT technology enables shippers to keep track of their shipments more easily than ever, without having to call their carriers or forwarders repeatedly for updates.

CargoSmart’s pop-up tool, the Live Incident Monitoring Dashboard, leverages the IoT to provide visibility to the location and speed of over 7,000 container vessels based on live vessel updates from AIS. The dashboard also shows information about the vessels moving through terminals and analyzes vessel waiting and port stay times, to provide visibility and insights to terminal operations. The dashboard provides shippers with a place to turn to for insights about their cargo, so that they can respond faster to unexpected incidents and plan accordingly.

Live Incident Monitoring Dashboard

Prevent Disruptions with Predictive Analytics – By analyzing current and historical data, shippers can be informed of incidents or potential disruptions earlier to minimize the impact to their supply chains.

Big Schedules is an intelligent sailing schedule platform that allows shippers to search for the latest ocean carrier schedules and track vessels. Leveraging the IoT, Big Schedules provides a projected ETA, which is calculated by a sophisticated algorithm that analyzes vessels’ historical routes and speed patterns, along with current speeds and locations, to provide estimated times of arrival. Moreover, the system leverages predictive analytics to provide potential delay alerts that notify users of potential shipment delays earlier. In addition, when schedules change due to adverse weather or other incidents, the system automatically alerts users, enabling them to identify disruptions earlier.

Big Schedules

Severe storms and other unexpected disruptions such as port strikes, cyberattacks, and even carrier bankruptcy, can cause major delays. We invite you to explore tools that leverage the IoT to improve your visibility and to reduce the risk of disruption to your supply chain.

Source: Lloyd’s Loading List

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