February 9, 2023

Does Your Supply Chain Visibility Provide These Milestones?

Logistics professionals have a lot to think about when their shipping containers sail across the ocean, bound for a U.S. port. Will the shipping containers arrive on time? Will they be unloaded right away? When can the distribution center expect the shipment? The best way to get answers to these questions is to have information about each milestone of your shipping container’s journey. 

If your technology provides milestone information, you will have some of the most valuable information about your shipping containers at your fingertips. Let’s explore how having the proper milestones is critical to successful and efficient shipping container management and why milestones are one of the most valuable features to consider when comparing supply chain visibility technologies.   

The Importance of Milestones  

Milestones are often the missing link to discovering where your shipping containers are and how and when their journey will continue. Milestones are dates and times when certain activities occur along the supply chain, such as when a vessel arrives at port, or an empty shipping container is returned to the depot. 

Knowing milestones gives you peace of mind, helps you avoid surprises, and can help you control costs. For example, if you can tell by the milestone information that there is a delay on the water, you could work with your logistics company and make proactive decisions about your shipping container management to save demurrage costs at port. 

Logistics companies offer different types of visibility platforms with plenty of data. However, many fail to provide the necessary milestones that keep you closely connected with your shipping containers to ease your mind about their location. Accuracy is key too.  The right supply chain visibility platform includes real-time, refreshed updates for milestone calculations. 

Here is a list of milestones every shipper should have to track shipping container progress for maximum efficiency. 

On the Water

Out on the ocean, rough waters, weather delays, and routing issues can delay your expected arrival date at port. Some supply chain visibility solutions will tell you when your shipping container vessel sets sail but little else. Coreviz, the supply chain visibility solution from AV Logistics, provides the milestone dates you need to avoid surprise early or late arrivals at port. These include:

  • Sail date
  • 30-day visibility and ETA
  • 14-day visibility and ETA
  • 7-day visibility and ETA

At Port

In 2020, port congestion issues made top headlines and continue to plague the supply chain. Shippers know that arriving at port doesn’t mean getting a berth or unloading immediately. There are many steps along the way, and the right supply chain visibility solution will accurately communicate your shipment’s progress at port. With access to the latest information, you can anticipate impending charges and delays and avoid them with proactive logistics solutions. The milestones you need at port are:

  • Port availability
  • Vessel ETA
  • Berthing ETA 
  • Arrival
  • Discharge & dwell
  • Custom holds
  • Delays to inland dray
  • Container dwell
  • Port last free day
  • Container outgate

At the Railyard

Often, the next stop for shipping containers after port is the railyard via drayage. Again, knowing what is happening with your shipping containers will enable you to communicate better with all stakeholders. At the railyard, your supply chain visibility solution should have functionality to track and monitor these milestones:

  • Load pickup notification
  • Container rail ingage
  • Custom holds availability
  • Storage last free day
  • Container outgate

Drayage to DC

Drayage operations provide trucking service from the railyard to the final destination, which is typically a distribution center. At this point, many DC managers are preparing to receive their shipments and may want to know where the containers are in their last mile. Your supply chain visibility solution should aid your logistics manager with the following milestones.

  • Load pickup
  • Load delivery ETA
  • Load delivery
  • Empty pickup
  • Return

Container Return

Empty containers must be returned to a shipping line, depot, or other destination. Container return locations vary depending on their origin, but shippers are typically responsible for the return. Your supply chain visibility solution can help track the return date of the shipping containers, regardless of destination, so you can rest easy with the knowledge that the return is complete.  Milestones to track for container return are:  

  • Return to steamship line.
  • Return to container yard 
  • Return to port
  • Return to railyard
  • Return to offsite depot

 The best supply chain visibility solutions combine end-to-end shipping container visibility with valuable milestone calculations. Coreviz, the proprietary shipping container management platform from AV Logistics, provides the milestones and visibility most in demand by shippers today. If you would like a demonstration of Coreviz to see how the team at AV Logistics ensures accuracy in all milestone information,  contact us or call Felecia Thompson at 904-874-4822.