Ship ETA Data API

Sep 7, 2021 | Vessel Future Schedules Data

Ship ETA data API

In this article, we will take a look at the details of the Ship ETA data API by Datalastic. This API focuses on the departure and arrival times of ships along with current location data. This makes the API a one-in-all data source to track maritime and port traffic in real-time. The data is particularly useful to,

  • Analyze and optimize maritime operations, 
  • Determine the safest and most time and cost-effective routes for cargo and passenger transportation,
  • Run analysis on fuel consumption,
  • Track port traffic all around the world,
  • Create algorithms based on the changes on arrival/departure times in real-time and historically, and much more.

Estimated time of arrival for a vessel may be updated many times throughout the course of the route. This can be because of the changes in weather, maritime traffic or sometimes accidents, like the Suez Canal incident in March 2021. As a result, to be able to have correct ship ETA data, you need an API that updates as new information comes along. Luckily, Datalastic Ship ETA Data API focuses on this important data as well, so keep reading!

Important Note: Our real-time ship tracking API has 3 different endpoints (as seen below in the Developer Information section) for 3 different formats. Please read to avoid confusion and choose the best option for you.

  1. Basic: very fast, lite version of live ship tracker API with basic data included. (For example:{YOUR_API_KEY}&mmsi=566093000). An Average API request reponse takes around 0.007 seconds.
  2. Pro: additionally includes many other useful data like estimated and actual time of departure, current draft, standardized destination/port names to what the basic endpoint has but may be a bit slowlier than the basic one. (For example:{YOUR_API_KEY}&mmsi=566093000).
  3. Bulk: allows pulling up to 100 ships at one time via a single API call. (For Example:{YOUR_API_KEY}&mmsi=566093000)

If you are looking to track ship ETA, Pro endpoint is the one for you. Accordingly, we will focus on the Pro endpoint data in this article.

So, Datalastic API – what are the advantages? Port information in ship tracking data can often include information that every captain fills in himself/herself. This would mean that every captain may use a –still correct- but different format for destination. For example, if a ship is on its course to Rotterdam Port, we may see the arrival port data as “NLROT” (Un/locode of the port), “ROTT” or “ROTTERDAM”, meaning that the data in an API response would also come in a non-standardized format. This may cause confusion since one port in the response can be in un/locode format when another can be in a different one; or the same port can be shown differently for different ships. Datalastic Ship ETA Data API standardizes this information, so every single ship’s data in the response has a uniform format for your convenience. This is crucial especially when analyzing a high number of ships at the same data or analyzing these historically. 

Ship ETA Data API – Developer Information

Basic, Pro and Bulk versions have different vessel values parameters which facilitates you an easy way to find the ship you are tracking. If you are interested in the other two than Pro (Basic and Bulk), feel free to check out API Reference page for more information. 

It is possible to filter all 3 endpoints data by 3 different values:

  • uuid – Vessel UUID:{YOUR_API_KEY}&uuid=b8625b67-7142-cfd1-7b85-595cebfe4191
  • mmsi – Vessel MMSI:{YOUR_API_KEY}&mmsi=566093000
  • imo – Vessel IMO:{YOUR_API_KEY}&imo=9525338

However, you can use your API key with any of the endpoints above without having to obtain a different one for each. It’s a “one API key-fits-all” size!

A standard response of the Pro endpoint looks like this:


    “data”: {

        “uuid”: “b8625b67-7142-cfd1-7b85-595cebfe4191”,

        “name”: “MAERSK CHENNAI”,

        “mmsi”: “566093000”,

        “imo”: “9525338”,

        “eni”: null,

        “country_iso”: “SG”,

        “type”: “Cargo – Hazard A (Major)”,

        “type_specific”: “Container Ship”,

        “lat”: 6.303473,

        “lon”: 3.201678,

        “current draught”:13.1

        “speed”: 0,

        “course”: 326,

        “navigational_status”: “Under Way using engine” 

        “heading”: 226,

        “destination”: “TGLFW>NGAPP”,

        “dest_port”: “LOME”

        “dest_port_unlocode”: “TGLFW”

        “last_position_epoch”: 1620484020,

        “last_position_UTC”: “2021-05-08T14:27:00Z”

        “atd_epoch”: 1621469820


        “eta_epoch”: 1622980800





Let’s first focus on the “destination” details and ETA part of the response to take a closer look at this standardized format we mentioned above, with explanations for each parameter based on the example:

  • “destination”: “TGLFW>NGAPP”,: Un/locode of the “departure port>arrival port”. Un/locodes are uniquely assigned for each port and globally accepted.
  • “dest_port”: “LOME”: shows the destination port’s name (not codes).
  • “dest_port_unlocode”: “TGLFW”: Un/locode of the destination port alone.
  • “last_position_epoch”: 1620484020,: Last recorded position of the ship in Epoch format. Frequently updated.
  • “last_position_UTC”: “2021-05-08T14:27:00Z”: Last recorded position in UTC.
  • “atd_epoch”: 1621469820: Actual Time of Departure in Epoch format
  • “atd_UTC”:”2021-05-20T00:17:00Z“: Actual Time of Dearture in UTC
  • “eta_epoch”: 1622980800: Estimated Time of Arrival in Epoch format
  • “eta_UTC”:”2021-06-06T12:00:00Z”: Estimated Time or Arrival in UTC

This is the standard format you will see for each ship in the response. The other ship details in the full parameter above are also standardized.

Please note that every parameter is not available as a filter. The filters are limited to “&uuid=”, “&mmsi=” and “&imo=” only.

If you have more questions about the meaning of the parameters, feel free to contact us anytime. We’d be happy to talk in more detail and provide examples if needed ☺

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