How To Track Your Container With API

May 17, 2022

Tracking container with API services is a necessary function when it comes to supply chain management.

Following the status of your container, all day through a hundred emails and messages can be exhausting sometimes especially if you have a big number of containers, it’s time-consuming and there’s a possibility that some catastrophic error can happen.

Tracking container with API services allows you to deal faster with the exceptions, reduce costs, and provide more visibility to your customers and for you as well. Either, Estimating the correct arrival time of the cargo or tracking it in real-time in oceans are all important steps in order to prepare documents or resources at the right time. 

In the article below, we will guide you through the whole process, from giving you a definition for container ship tracking to providing you with accurate methods to track your containers.

  • What is Container Ship Tracking?
  • How are Container Ships Tracked?
  • How to Track Container Ships
  • What data Does Datalastic Container Ship Tracking API Show?
  • How can I use API to track my vessel or container?

 

What is Container Ship Tracking?

 

Container ship tracking is a method to get information about the container ship in the ocean.

Tracking container with API gives you the ability to get updated on the most recent activities of the vessel such as heading, current_port, and destination port, cargo type among various others. In addition, these tracking systems provide important information regarding the different stages of the transportation process and logistics, including details about the different status of the container. 

How are Container Ships Tracked?

The Container ships get tracked with the help of Automated Identification Systems (AIS) Every type of vessel is required to be equipped with the AIS transponder which transmits vessel locations (latitude and longitude). 

The AIS transponder sends and receives regularly vessel information between ships and AIS base stations through a vast satellite network.

How to Track Container Ships?

 

You can track any ship containers even Maersk containers with different methods: 

  1. Through API services and endpoints: that allow you to get real-time updates about your vessel voyage status.

The API endpoint is a really efficient way to get precise data about the vessel with updates in every few minutes. Through the API services also you’re allowed to create a full customized solution that match your requirements or your customer requirements.

2. GPS or Satellite tracking: Through a device attached to the exterior of the container and it sends out the location via cellular or satellite constellation. However,it can represent many negative sides that may let you reconsider abut following this method:

  • GPS or satellite container tracking is super expensive.
  • The damage to the antenna or other vital parts could stop GPS functioning.
  • GPS requires the tracking device to have a clear view of the sky

3. Online: Some website provides an online platform/map where you can track your container ship using the search option or through an interactive map. Tracking online can be challenging, it’s an easy and fast method that some prefer but it cannot be an accurate source of information, as it presents many negatives sides:

  • No guarantees about the timeliness
  • Missing data like the container’s location for a long time 
  • Slow updates

How can I track my container with the bill of lading?

The bill of landing is a document that contains much important information it shows the details and represents a specification of the shipment. Using a bill of lading (BL or BOL) is a common way to track containers.

The bill of landing usually contains information such as : 

  • IMO (ship identification number)
  • Names and addresses of the shipper (consigner) and receiver (consignee)
  • Shipment date
  • Quantity
  • Exact weight
  • Value
  • freight classification

Through the IMO number provided, in easy three steps, you can start tracking your ship container in real-time. We provide self-service, you start by choosing your plan , subscribe and you’ll get your API key instantly to your email inbox and you’re free to go. 

What Information Does Datalastic Container Ship Tracking API Show?

The API gives a specific data on Vessel Name, MMSI number, IMO number, UUID, country code, vessel type and subtype with Hazard level if available, the position expressed in longitude and latitude, speed, course, heading, navigational status, destination, Estimated Time of Arrival, Actual Time of Departure, Current Draft, unlocode destination and departure ports and a timestamp. 

In Datalastic, we get the data through our AIS Terrestrial network from different providers, which allows us to calculate a vessel’s ETA much more accurately.

How can I use API to track my vessel or container?

 

Let’s show you how to do it:

In our Example, we will tack this Container ship which is called Maersk Chennai – Container Ship, IMO 9525338.

Maersk Chennai - Container Ship, IMO 9525338-datalastic

We present multiple API endpoints when it comes to vessel tracking but we will choose Live Ship Tracking API.

API endpoints for containers tracking

You can check out your self-service article to guide you through the process of tracking your ship container or your cargo in more detail.

Pro live ship tracking

By copy-pasting this request and putting the required vessel information like(MMSI number, IMO number or UUID ), you can get a response as the below:

requests response of API

We provide for our users a 5minutes update rate which gives more choice to select a time frame on your desires and stay informed on your container status while it’s traveling in the ocean َas Having accurate data about a container ship’s location is a really important matter in the supply chain, it allows supply chain workers to prepare and plan resources based on the arrival time, as well as preparing shipping documents.

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