container door with container serial number

OCR Container Identification Improves the Freight Forwarding Process

Thomas Mörtl Zimmerer

Account Executive at Anyline

May 04, 2022

While there are many systems that underpin global trade, one of the most critical involves the identification of shipping containers along the supply chain. Manufacturers are often located far away from resellers and consumers, requiring a complex and interconnected system of ships, trucks, planes, depots and moving equipment. Weaknesses in the existing system have been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the workforce, as well as increased demands for goods, leaving the supply chain in chaos. Ingenuity on the part of freight forwarders has helped to keep global shipping moving.

Freight forwarders act as a bridge between the shippers of goods and the organizations that receive them. It’s their job to serve as intermediaries and ensure that shipments are moved efficiently from the manufacturer to the distributor and ultimately to the final customer. During the transportation, it’s critical to have a single view of the highly complex process.

Identifying Containers Along the Supply Chain

Shipments are identified by their container numbers, which are the most critical information needed to manage the process. With this number, it’s possible to identify where a shipment is at any point in time and verify its status. The container numbers, which are usually a unique alpha-numeric combination of four letters and seven numbers, are prominently displayed on the container. In the past, shippers often relied on manual entry of these numbers for tracking. But manual entry can be slow and prone to errors.

A Better Way to Identify Containers for Freight Forwarding

Problems often arise in shipping due to the sheer volume of transported goods and the need to enter data manually. Technologies designed to improve container logistics capacity can boost speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Freight companies need a better way to identify containers to allow all involved parties to track them. Spending less time identifying each shipment gives freight handlers more time to move them to the right place, and allows workers to move more containers in the same amount of time.

A Real-World Example

CargoSnap is a platform designed for the logistics chain to document and record shipments. Backed by OCR-based document scanning technology from Anyline, CargoSnap provides customers with location and status updates along the supply chain. This is achieved through the sharing of photos of cargo at different points during the logistics process. The solution makes it easy to fill bills of lading quickly and accurately, and to perform check-ups at every step. Solutions such as CargoSnap benefit from Anyline’s features that make it a perfect choice for automating shipping documents such as freight forms and commercial invoices.

Integrating OCR Container Identification in Freight Forwarding

Integrating Anyline’s mobile scanning solution into existing operations is a simple process. The technology works with any mobile device that has a camera and can even be used without Internet connectivity. Anyline’s software development kit (SDK) can be integrated into existing freight forwarding processes, removing the need for employees to manage multiple devices. The solution is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows 10 and more, and supports cross-platform integration frameworks like Xamarin, React-Native and Cordova.

To learn more about Anyline data capture technology for freight forwarding and logistics, contact us today!