- Global terminal operator DP World launched a new app, Where's my container, to help shippers and forwarders track the whereabouts of a container at any given time along the shipping route, The Loadstar reported Thursday.
- Users gain access to container location via container number. Once on the app, customers and haulers can view their container in one of five places: vessel at sea; on vessel at berth; on hold (often for customs inspections); available for collection; or departed by road.
- The app is free and was created to provide more value to the supply chain and enhance transport visibility. Standardization kinks along DP World's global network are being worked out with the help of various tech firms, per the report.
In April 2017, during the American Association of Port Authorities conference in Washington, D.C, four desirable KPIs were described as vital to supply chain partners: reliability, visibility, predictability and data. Stakeholders in attendance voiced concern that ports were often a "black box" of invisibility for shipments, obscuring their whereabouts and arousing concern.
This universal concern means that any tool that promotes a means of seeing into the shipping process goes a long way toward providing that much needed visibility. At a time when distrust and suspicion from shippers is high and rising further, a concerted effort to reveal the status of cargo is welcome. Reassurance that a shipment is where it's supposed to be is a boon to any shipper's peace of mind.
Unfortunately, the "Where's my container?" app has not yet made its way to the U.S., but such an initiative may encourage competing terminal operators to follow suit. Or shipping lines: Maersk Line already offers its own version of a container transparency app, with real time cargo tracking and schedule confirmation or alerts.
Not all shipments travel through DP World terminals or Maersk Line, but a proliferation of such technology is sure to help supply chains achieve greater visibility, and therefore reduce risk.