Where is it? When will it get there? Which carrier has been performing the best in terms of on-time arrivals?
These are top of mind questions for shippers. But in 2017, new rules from SOLAS took effect, and issues of verified weight, called VGM, is pushing its way up the supply chain.
Whether you’re a global consumer goods manufacturer with freight on ocean vessels bound for Singapore, or a mid-sized freight forwarding provider, tracking freight on the high seas can be a chore. But with SOLAS and VGM, containers held up at terminals mean costly and disruptive delays—if only just one shipper’s goods among dozens inside a container fails to meet the standards.
Chances are, if you are using a freight forwarder or a 3PL like STG Logistics (St. George Logistics), they offer services to ensure proper VGM. Then, you can use their portals to type in the bill of lading or other information. Voila, you get a report on the last-known position of your shipment.
With SOLAS and Verified Gross Mass compliance now equally top of mind, who is doing what to help the industry?
Ship tracking and tracing technologies
Track-trace (www.track-trace.com) is one of the common shipment tracking providers. Users of their website can enter a container code or bill of lading for carriers from ABF to ZMS. Up pops the shipment tracking. Tremendously convenient and widely used, this doesn’t necessarily provide solutions to SOLAS and VGM. It just tells you, presuming your goods in a container left port, where they may be—at sea or at port.
Advances in SOLAS compliance
If you’ve read this far, you care about shipping VGM-compliant. Behind the scenes, a long-standing, little-known company called, INTTRA (www.inttra.com), has been raising the bar in response to VGM for SOLAS compliance.
President Inna Kuznetsova, formerly an IBM exec, has helped lead the New Jersey company into development of digital VGM solutions. INTTRA’s services now serve 220,000 freight forwarders and shippers who can make bookings with more than 50 carriers and common carriers.
INTTRA introduced one step forward with a new platform for tracking shipments, launched ahead of the July 1, 2017 SOLAS effective date.
“We have seen double digit growth on the platform,” Kuznetsova reports in a Maritime Executive interview, “compared to zero to three percent growth in worldwide shipping this year.”
Among its innovations are performance dashboards that give shippers data on units and carrier reliability across different routes. These easy-to-visualize analytics make for better shipment planning and can help users make fact-based decisions when it comes to time-sensitive cargo.
Freight forwards give INTTRA’s technology platform positive reviews because they can base future decisions on significant data from past performance.
Meanwhile, as innovators like INTTRA work to make booking, VGM compliance, and tracking simpler and more powerful, your freight forwarder’s portal—and providers like Track-Trace—continue to provide quick, reliable, and free visibility.
About the Author
Comprehensive Logistics Services. When You Want it. Where It Needs To Be. St. George Logistics is the premier provider of Ocean and Air CFS, Distribution, Transportation and value-added services in North America. We offer unmatched experience, exceptional customer service, and precise tracking technology.More Content by Michelle Ross