Blog. Where's My Stuff?

April 4, 2019

Tracking Your Cargo  

follow the course or trail of (someone or something), typically in order to find them or note their location at various points


Now that you have shipped your cargo is there a way to track it online?  Yes, you can (in most instances).

Let’s talk about consolidated shipments first. These can be more difficult to track. Consolidated freight means you are sharing space in a container with other cargo. Most freight companies will give you a booking number for your shipment at the beginning this should be your tracking number as well. You can go to their website and find the tracking link although the information you pull up will more than likely be exactly what is on the booking confirmation unless they track in real time (input updates for each leg of the journey – like we do at Dove Shipping). To better track your shipment -> after the shipment has sailed the USA obtain the container number that your cargo is stuffed into (it should be listed on your bill of lading or confirmation onboard); then go to the main carrier’s website.  To find out the main carrier look on your booking confirmation for a SCAC code (if you can’t find one ask your shipping company for either the SCAC code or the name of the Carrier) Then search the web for the 4 letters i.e. MAEU, HLCU, CNPJ, etc.. followed by SCAC and the full carrier name will pop up usually with a link to their website. Enter the container number into the tracking field and it will tell you the actual sail date and estimated time of arrival to the destination port. (or base port in cases of transshipping)

Transshipping means your cargo will be unloaded from the original container and reloaded into a different container in a foreign country to continue its journey. This is common for cargo shipping to Africa, the Middle East or even Australia. Consolidators do this because they may not have enough freight from the origin to a particular destination point or its cheaper; so, they ship cargo to a port like Antwerp where their agent reloads your cargo to another container to Lagos, Nigeria for example with other goods they have collected from Europe. It is a fine-tuned process. This is where tracking gets a little hazy because you will have to know the new container number and new carrier information in order to continue to trace your goods online – odds are you will not get this information. Now, you must start contacting the destination agent for updates on the arrival.

Full containers stay intact and will not change carriers so you will be able to track on the Carrier’s website until arrival.

Another way to track the vessel that your shipment sails on is – simply enter the name of the vessel, make sure it is designated a container ship and you can track it while it is near a port. Once the vessel 🚢 crosses the ocean you can pick up the signal again. It's not very informative to your particular shipment but it is super cool to watch.  🤓

If you ship with Dove Shipping we always have real-time information on our tracking system so you will always know where your shipment is throughout its journey PLUS we also update once it is released to the consignee or their broker and if there is a problem you know that too.  Pretty soon you can put a GPS chip on your cargo and track it via satellite but until that becomes affordable 

If you have any questions, concerns or comments on tracking your cargo, please let a comment below.


Our next BLOG article will be on Shipping Rolling Stock – Autos, Motorcycles, Equipment on wheels.

Sue Fitzgerald, GM, Dove Shipping International Inc. Houston, TX  ❤

[email protected], Tel: 281-328-4100

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