Shipping and logistics is an important part of the global economy, but it’s also a complex and fragmented industry. With more than 100 million containers moving each year, there is a need for innovation to make the process of shipping and tracking containers more efficient. Customer support representatives often get inquiries about ocean freight shipments, like "where is my container?" and "what is the status of my container?" or "when will it be delivered?". Being able to respond to these urgent questions, without hesitation, goes a long way towards instilling trust and restoring peace of mind among stakeholders across the global supply chain.
However, providing excellent customer service is not something that happens by accident. Highly trained individuals, strong technology, and high-quality data that can be exchanged in real-time are required to make this happen successfully. This is where software-based application programming interfaces (APIs) are filling a critical need in global supply chains by enabling two or more platforms to communicate and seamlessly share real-time data.
To fully appreciate the critical role that APIs play in today's corporate environment, and global supply chains, in particular, it is necessary to first understand the various roadblocks to achieving real-time ocean container monitoring. Once established, the role of APIs in delivering technical support that answers the “what”, “where” and “when” involved in global container shipping becomes clearer.
The Importance of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in Modern Business and Supply Chains
Across corporate environments, APIs are at the core of digital transformation projects – and have had a significant role in modernising global supply chains. Creating API connections with the assistance of a specialized technology partner is similar to having a dedicated wingman sitting in the container with the cargo, ready to provide the data and real-time updates required to answer queries such as "where is my container?"
Only recently have industry leaders such as SeaRates dug deeper to better define the underlying datascape and infrastructure. In reality, an API is only as good as the data it is transmitting. Data is the bedrock of digital transformation. By understanding the context of both the data quality and what is happening to the containerized shipment itself while in transit, it is easier to calculate more accurate ETAs.
Unlike Electronic Data Interchanges (EDI), APIs can make use of real-time validations, providing a viable option during transit. Although EDI has been the major method of exchanging information across supply chain systems for the last 50 years, it does so by delivering a series of self-contained updates rather than one continuous stream of information. Because of the load on servers and other factors, this is much slower. APIs provide much more flexibility – providing a simple-to-use interface, and transmits data and updates much faster.
Aside from that, APIs save businesses both time and money. When answering inquiries such as "where has my container gone?" and "what happened to my container?", traditional businesses customer service investigations would need to visit the websites of each shipping line as well as other sources, which might take hours to complete. This is just for one container. Now, web-based APIs make it workable to compress that search to a matter of minutes, whether it's for a single container or a group of containers at the same time. This also frees up the time of customer care representatives to devote their efforts to other activities that will help the business develop.
Challenges Undermining Tracking Confidence
Key stakeholders are kept in the dark and wondering, "Where is my container?" if they do not have real-time visibility and information. It is possible to solve some of the difficulties that are threatening trust in container monitoring via the use of visibility and technology in tandem. These challenges include:
● Is the data we're gathering accurate and timely?
● Is the quality of the data high and latency low?
● Is it possible that manual processes are slowing down the process and/or increasing the potential for human errors?
● Is it possible for me to get the information more quickly? EDI is too slow.
Without real-time visibility and data, important stakeholders are kept in the dark, wondering where their container is.
Increasing Stakeholder Confidence in Real-Time APIs
Using APIs, you can remove the human factor from the equation and guarantee the greatest levels of integrity, consistency, dependability, correctness, and validation for your data. As a result, stakeholders can:
● Be confident in their ability to monitor the precise position of their cargo.
● Be confident in their ability to offer real-time client support.
● Be confident in their ability to handle numerous containers at scale.
● Rate the degree of pro-activeness across the supply chain as "excellent."
● Be confident in their capacity to establish long-term business partnerships with shippers, freight forwarders, and carriers.
SeaRates' Container Tracking API provides you with complete confidence
When facing queries such as "where is my container?" and "when will it arrive?" SeaRates’ world-class API can assist in delivering answers and peace of mind by enabling quick, efficient, and data-driven digital supply chains that are connected to the global marketplace. This provides a streamlined method of seeing data from a single place, allowing all stakeholders to make educated business choices with confidence while remaining under budget.
Additionally, SeaRates' Container Tracking API can be integrated easily and fast with any systems. Integration takes around half an hour, according to our client Dino Vidil, managing director of Ssumar Group:
The API integration was very efficient and the web page technical information was enough for our technician to integrate it with the Creatio platform in no more than thirty minutes. We look forward to fully integrating our solution with all of DP World’s service capabilities.