Keeping Track of your Shipments

One of the biggest hassles that an importer has to do is keep track of their shipments. Not only is it tedious work, but it can take away from their other dealings and make them more anxious for their goods. Fortunately we have freight forwarders that get paid to help with that. Most forwarders have systems set up to capture this information and have easily accessible websites to find everything online at any time of the day. The problem is that it is not always that easy to rely on them since they tend to track by bill of ladings and container numbers where by shippers would be looking for specific purchase orders and products from their manufacturers. A shipper may have a purchase order building that is separated over more than one shipping container or they may not yet have a container number to work with. This is why so many importers tend to use their own reference numbers. By using a reference number of their own, they can use different parts of the number to represent different aspects of the shipment. For instance, it can have a sequential number for a purchase order but have a letter added to represent each manufacturer. Then each shipment can be connected to a container or a group of containers for easier tracking. Although many forwarders and third party logistics groups may discourage this practice, it can be a good tool for tracking. It might mean more data entry or even more confusion for their people but in most cases they are willing to help in any way possible.