FreightWaves SONAR is adding to its upstream view of the supply chain with the expansion of its maritime visibility solution. SONAR Container Atlas, or SCA, provides a complete picture of container freight shipping patterns for freight bound for the U.S.
SCA measures maritime container shipping activity by using three primary components:
- Ocean container spot rates, which cover most of the world’s highest volume lanes.
- Maritime supply and demand analytics arising from electronic communications between shippers and carriers.
- Import manifest data, which covers shipments and TEUs that have cleared their ports of entry into the U.S.
The maritime sector has become an increasingly important part of the supply chain over the past three years. However, comprehensive maritime shipping data is still not broadly disseminated. In addition, recent geopolitical instability makes data, information and analysis of this sector even more important.
Container freight is a major component of the U.S. economy, with about 70% of the goods used in the nation imported via ocean cargo. Many U.S. companies increasingly “offshored” their production of goods over the past 30 years.
Container import demand and activity is a critical component to monitor for any supply chain manager. In addition, those companies involved in domestic transportation or who monitor the U.S. economy have a strong use case for forecasting these operating environments.
Container spot rates
In SONAR, SCA’s container rates page defaults to four of the most important lanes, measuring global shipping supply and demand but focusing primarily on North American imports. Users will be able to select between hundreds of global port pairings for average spot rates for shipping 40’ containers (FEUs). The data comes from Freightos and Drewery.
Maritime supply and demand
SCA’s supply and demand page uses bookings data to measure TEUs, shipments, carrier rejections, capacity, carrier reported transit times, and lead times. Each of these metrics is presented in chart form with customizable date ranges and country/port pairings.
Shippers will be able to identify where the most disruption at ports of lading and destination are by seeing a combination of booking activity, vessel capacity and service changes. They will also be able to tell when demand-side fluctuations will potentially put pressure on rates before that occurs.
The purpose of this SCA page is to provide an overview of the global container shipping sector for downstream participants such as carriers and brokers. There is a forecasting element involved in SCA’s maritime data that domestic surface transportation providers can use to see how much freight is potentially heading their way with incredible precision.
Since the average container currently takes about 21-27 days to move from China to the North American West Coast, domestic transportation providers can see what is heading their way nearly a month ahead of time.
Import manifest intelligence
SCA’s import manifest page displays both shipments and TEUs from a country all the way down to port pairing granularity for inbound U.S. container freight. This page identifies import freight demand patterns for freight that has already arrived in the U.S. Drayage, rail, warehouse, and other surface transportation providers have a keen interest in seeing pattern shifts in container landings in order to help forecast their businesses. Shippers can use this data to identify where delays around the ports they use may occur.
SCA’s opening page displays a heat map based on volumes of the originating country in the upper left corner; the clearing port states are represented just beneath it. Port TEU and shipments are listed by destination in descending order, with the percentage of the total market share listed for the user-defined date range. The shipment and TEU trends are listed in combination chart form in the bottom right corner.
Note that SCA is in beta testing and is subject to continuous improvements.