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Truck, Airplane, Shipping Container for Logistics

Freight Shipment Tracking: How To Track Air, Ocean & Container Shipments

Learn how to track and manage all your freight shipments.

Dylan Sommer

Tracking your freight shipment isn’t just about peace of mind – it’s a strategic move that can streamline your operations and save you from unexpected surprises. This guide will demystify freight shipment tracking so you can stay up to date, keep your supply chain on track, and manage any surprises as easily as possible.

Search, book, manage, and track freight in one place

The importance of tracking your freight shipments

Let’s break down why shipment tracking matters:

Keeping your supply chain on schedule

Ever tried to plan a welcome party, but you’re not sure when the guest will show up? That’s what it feels like without real-time shipment tracking – except with higher stakes. Keep track of where your shipment is and you’ll be able to update your providers, stay on top of your inventory, and meet delivery deadlines more effectively.

Catching any potential issues or delays

Sometimes shipments end up taking a scenic route, thanks to weather or traffic snags. Tracking helps you see these detours and respond accordingly, keeping your business on track (pun definitely intended).

Identifying patterns and trends in your shipping activities

Tracking helps you spot trends in your shipping activities and offers actionable insights to optimize your supply chain and shrink operational costs. For example, you might notice recurring delays on one route, or surges in demand at certain times of the year. This insight allows you to adapt for more efficiency in the future.

Resolving specific procedure-related issues

Navigating procedure-related hurdles like freight inspections or customs is a headache. Tracking catches these problems early. For example, if your goods get stuck at customs, you can troubleshoot with your forwarder before the problem snowballs.

Enhancing communication and collaboration with partners and customers

Knowing your shipment status means you can share this information with partners and customers. This kind of transparency builds trust.

Shipment tracking gives you the reins of your logistics operations. The result? Increased efficiency, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line.

How to track international shipments

Thanks to logistics technology, freight tracking gets easier and more accurate all the time. Here are some of the ways to track a shipment.


Freight documents, especially the Bill of Lading (BoL) or Air Waybill (AWB), are like the passport stamps of your shipment, showing where it’s been and where it’s going. In many cases, importers and exporters can track shipments by entering the BoL or AWB information on their carrier’s website.

Transportation management systems

Many freight forwarders offer transport management systems so you can track your shipment on their websites. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tracking provider.

Asking your forwarder for updates

In some cases, importers and exporters communicate directly with their freight forwarders for status updates.

If you use, you’ll get status updates and tracking information right on the platform, so it’s all at your fingertips.

Alternative reference numbers to track your freight cargo

The BoL and AWB are the most commonly used documents for tracking freight. But your shipment has other numbers associated with it, and these are all used to track shipments. Here are some examples:

Container number

If you’re shipping a full container load (FCL), you can use the assigned container number for tracking.

Delivery order number

Carriers or freight forwarders assign this unique number to identify the shipment, particularly in last-mile deliveries. You can use it for both ocean shipping tracking and air shipment tracking.

Purchase order (PO) number

This is used as a reference number to tie all communications and paperwork related to the shipment back to your shipment. It is crucial for accurate record-keeping and ensures that the correct items are shipped to the right destination.

Using Freightos To Track Your Air, Ocean, and Container Shipments

If you’re managing multiple shipments, staying on top of tracking can become a juggling act.

Forget about keeping all those balls in the air! On, you can search, book, and track all your shipments in one place. You’ll also get document management, seamless communication with providers, and support whenever you need. Ready to start?

Freight tracking can be easy

Get a demo of’s Enterprise Shipper capabilities helps you spend less time and money on each shipment, reducing spend with better:

  • Improved selection across price, mode, vendor, performance metrics on each shipment
  • Reduced management time with on-demand documentat management and tracking
  • Real-time service through automated services, real-time chat, and integrated messaging options
  • Powerful payment options, including credit, batch processing, reconcilations and more.

Complete this form to request a free demo

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