International container traffic has recently reached record volumes as traffic ramped up through much of the pandemic and container movements continue to grow. In North American ports, there are huge delays in working the ships arriving from Asia and the inbound/outbound container imbalance is creating container shortages for export shipments.
Throughout this rapid business expansion, there continues to be a focus on supply chain visibility among ship and port operators, railroads and truckers. Shippers and beneficial cargo owners want better tools to see and track shipments from release to delivery, in the same way consumers track Amazon or FedEx shipments. As consumers become more accustomed to better tracking and service standards, these capabilities are needed at every stage of the transportation and handling process.
From the Ship to the Intermodal Yard
The greatest need for supporting advanced supply chain visibility will take us beyond the domestic tracking of shipments. This would be the full integration of planning and operational systems, and data across multiple transport modes. For example, if a single planning application (and set of data) extended from the ship, to the container terminal, to the on-dock rail, to the rail intermodal yard, the carriers would have more opportunities to optimize and track this extended process.
One critical area of system and data interfaces is in intermodal movements, and the related data. This deserves more examination from logistics specialists.
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