How Enhanced Container Tracking Improves ETA Accuracy and Supply Chain Visibility [VIDEO]

Written by Kimberly Lovell
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4 minute read

The unprecedented levels of supply chain disruption brought about in 2020 and the first half of 2021 have highlighted the need for forwarders and shippers to invest in systems, data, and strategy. More specifically, systems, data, and strategies that provide for advanced shipment visibility. Organizations that have armed themselves with these capabilities have performed better and executed at a higher degree by managing shipments using real-time visibility data rather than dates provided at the time of booking or based on a fixed schedule. In particular, the ability to accurately manage the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and downstream activities, such as drayage, transload, delivery to consignee, updates to customers, etc., can be greatly improved if the time of arrival is constantly updated by predictive analytics and a next-level visibility solution.

Why is the ETA milestone such a big deal? Inaccurate ETAs and unpredictable service schedules disrupt ocean shipments more often than most shippers realize. Unreliable information hinders the ability to manage your supply chain and can result in unexpected costs and surprises. Many forwarders try to solve this market-wide problem through people and standard tracking procedures, but errors and omissions persist, and ETA data is often not improved.

With over 40 years in the industry and millions of containers tracked every year, we understand how this affects your business. It affects our business too. This is why we searched for a marketplace solution to alleviate these pain points but could not find a single program or software to meet our needs. As a result, we created our innovative Enhanced Container Tracking solution to provide container-level visibility and real-time tracking for our customers and operational employees. We knew that a data solution that solves problems for our employees would also solve problems for our customers.


Expeditors’ Enhanced Container Tracking solution utilizes a unique data triangulation approach to produce optimal tracking information by:

  • Applying a state-of-the-art algorithm to generate predictive baseline analytics on schedules, transit times, and ETAs for all vessels and trade lanes based on historical data
  • Combining automated data from multiple asset-based sources in real-time (steamship lines, terminals, railroads, truckers, GPS satellite feeds, and business intelligence sources) to provide up-to-date information on each vessel and container to validate ETA
  • Utilizing our global network of more than 400 locations and 18,000 logistics professionals who are close to the cargo, manage any exceptions, and keep your shipments moving to ensure on-time arrivals and no surprises
  • Delivering this data to our customers with the rest of their shipment details using EXP.O NOW, our online visibility product, and through any EDI, API, or reporting solutions we have set up


Achieving accurate ETA updates from a trusted source can benefit your supply chain and business in many ways, including:
  • Reduced detention and demurrage costs
  • Increased productivity through a reduction in manual work
  • No additional contracts, integrations, platforms, or products as it is part of Expeditors’ NVOCC, Customs Brokerage, Order Management, and Delivery Management solutions and online tools
  • Accurate data for true carrier accountability and performance management
  • Improved efficiency and decision making through:
  • Better lead time planning
  • Visibility to vessel dwell time
  • Confidence in origin booking

Whether you ship one container a month or 10,000, your business will benefit from the improved data and delivery predictability. Expeditors’ Enhanced Container Tracking solution eliminates added costs, frustration, and unplanned events from your supply chain and is another innovative way we utilize data to deliver digital logistics you can trust.

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Blog was originally posted on May 26, 2021 8 AM

Topics: Visibility, technology, Data

Kimberly Lovell

Written by Kimberly Lovell

Since her start in the logistics industry in 2009, Kimberly has learned from and led product, regional, and project development teams. As Director of the Core Innovation program, she is part of a team chartered to research and develop innovative ideas into sustainable and scalable products, services, or processes that enhance Expeditors’ core business model. The Core Innovation team enables creativity and value by connecting ideas across our global network to the research and resources required to execute meaningful change. Based in our Raleigh-Durham office, Kimberly is passionate about customer-driven innovation and pushing the logistics industry forward.

4 minute read