Improving end-to-end supply chain visibility through technology

Improving end-to-end supply chain visibility through technology

Mike Bhaskaran |

COVID-19 and other crises have signalled the need for greater transparency in shipping.

Recent ‘Black Swan’ events like the Ever Given Suez Canal blockage and COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the fragile nature of supply chains and emphasised the need for end-to-end visibility. With the term ‘end-to-end’ commonly referenced as meaning visibility from node to node, door to door, origin to destination, or from the manufacturer to the end customer.

Global news shipping provider, Lloyd’s List estimates more than $9 billion worth of goods pass through the 120-mile Suez Canal waterway each day, translating to around $400 million per hour. Even if your goods were worth just 1,000th of that volume, and just 1% of that faced disruption, that would translate to an impacted portion of inventory (working capital) close to $96,000 a day or about $35 million a year.

This is why supply chain visibility - and the business agility it enables, is no longer an optional add on. It is a requirement for sustainable global trade in the 21st century.

How to manage supply chains

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply and demand in many ways, from forcing factory and border closures, to creating violent surges in consumers’ needs. Organisations without end-to-end supply chain visibility have struggled to adapt.

Managing supply chains demands advanced daily planning - even when logistics are running smoothly. Supply chain decision makers often face thousands of micro-disruptions from missed connections and tampering to counterfeiting and lost packages.

All these micro-disruptions can accumulate and effect ‘glocal’ trade which makes supply chains less resilient and less agile. In response, the logistics community has already started taking clear and decisive action.

As revealed in DP World’s inaugural “Trade in Transition” report, 83% of senior supply chains executives say they are actively reconfiguring their supply chain arrangements because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resilience and agility

There has been a massive resurgence of interest in supply chain agility in recent months. A global survey by Gartner than 1,300 supply chain professionals found 87% of respondents plan to invest in supply chain resiliency within the next two years. The poll, conducted from September 2020 through November 2020, concluded that further investment in supply chain agility was also likely in the years ahead, with 89% of professionals saying they intended to dedicate resources to this area.

Clearly, supply chain resilience and agility go hand in hand. Agile supply chains afford cargo owners the freedom to make rapid decisions, and allow them the ability to re-route goods at any moment, using integrated solutions such as, which enables customers to transport cargo worldwide by sea at the click of a mouse.

SeaRates has been part of the DP World family since 2020 and forms a key part of our company’s advanced strategic alliances programme. In line with DP World’s global strategy, SeaRates has invested heavily in technology to make cargo movement management accessible and visible online, making the shipping process more efficient and unlocking value for our customers.

For example, SeaRates allows you to follow every step of your cargo’s journey, giving you a clearly planned route before it even sets off. The Distances & Time tool also provides an estimated time of arrival for the goods to reach their final destination – no matter how complex or multi-modal the journey might be.

By aggregating rates from thousands of different logistics providers and independent freight forwarders under the Digital Freight Alliance, the SeaRates Marketplace allows businesses to select available shipments according to cost and / or speed. Meanwhile, the SeaRates Shipping Schedule tool further supports the planning and visibility of your cargo’s route, allowing you to check schedules by route, port, vessel, or carrier.

Improving end-to-end visibility

When you know where your cargo is, and where it is going to be, you can make the right decisions to adapt to unforeseen challenges. Which is why end-to-end supply chain visibility is such an essential part of the solution to both micro-disruptions and ‘Black Swan’ events.

The mission of DP World’s newly created Logistics & Technology business is to help importers and exporters locate their inventory and identify where gaps exist in their current supply chains. SeaRates is just one example of how we are making tracking possible, and offering more advanced tools, such as route planning and load calculation. These are the kinds of capabilities that all add up to create noticeable gains by optimising your supply chain and delivering multiple new efficiencies. All backed up by a proven track record, tailored customer service, with a 24-hour helpline and the convenience only world-class digital solutions can provide.

Digital advances

Overall, the advances we have made within our new division have increased our ability to help new and existing shippers save time and keep on top of the best rates the global and local freight markets have to offer.

We will continue to develop new digital tools to support shippers and merchants throughout their day-to-day business operations, and I can’t wait to share more innovations with you, very soon.