Vessel Schedule

How can we get the most accurate information on vessel schedule, including the following - when is the vessel expected to arrive at the port? when is the vessel scheduled to depart? how much time is expected for loading/unloading operations?

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Hi @ali-gara1
When it comes to monitoring vessel schedules including arrival and departure times, and the duration of loading/unloading operations, there are several effective strategies you can employ:

  1. Check Port Websites and Maritime Port Authorities: Most major ports worldwide offer real-time vessel traffic information online. By regularly reviewing sections of their websites dedicated to ‘Vessel Traffic’ or ‘Maritime Schedules’, you can gain accurate insight into ship schedules. However, bear in mind that various factors like adverse weather conditions, vessel traffic congestion, and operational delays can sometimes affect the reliability of this data.
  2. Use Vessel Tracking Services: Online vessel tracking platforms are invaluable resources for maritime schedule information. Services such as MarineTraffic, VesselFinder, MagicPort and AISLive provide AIS (Automatic Identification System) data, which can offer accurate estimates on the arrival and departure times of vessels. This real-time or near real-time information is accessible either for free or through subscription plans.
  3. Contact Freight Forwarders or Shipping Lines: If your interest in vessel schedules is due to shipping cargo, reach out to your freight forwarder or shipping line. As entities directly involved with the vessel operations, they can provide specific details about a particular vessel’s schedule. They can inform you of the estimated times of arrival (ETA) and departure (ETD) at the next port, as well as provide an estimate of the loading/unloading time.
  4. Consult Port Agents: Port agents are responsible for coordinating port calls, and as such, they can provide the most accurate vessel schedule information. With their direct liaison with both the vessel and the port, they can offer real-time updates on ETAs, ETDs, and berthing prospects, as well as estimates on loading/unloading durations.

Remember that estimated loading/unloading times can vary significantly depending on factors such as cargo type and volume, port efficiency, and whether the vessel is set to work immediately upon arrival. Since vessel schedules can be affected by weather, mechanical issues, or logistical delays, they can change. For the most accurate information, regularly check for updates.

There are several sources that you can check, depending on the specific vessels you are looking for as well as their destinations. The best would be to cross check a few sources for better picture:

Port Authority or Terminal Websites: Many port authorities and terminals maintain websites that provide real-time vessel schedules and arrival information. These websites often include details such as estimated arrival times, departure times, berthing information, and delays.

AIS (Automatic Identification System) Websites and Apps: AIS is a tracking system used by ships to broadcast their positions and other information. Several websites and mobile apps aggregate AIS data from ships worldwide, providing real-time vessel tracking and schedules. Examples include MarineTraffic, VesselFinder, FleetMon and Vessel Scanner. These platforms allow you to search for specific vessels, track their current positions, and view estimated arrival times.

Shipping Line Websites: Major shipping lines often have their own online platforms that provide comprehensive schedules and arrival information for their vessels. Examples: Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, and Hapag-Lloyd.

Freight Forwarders and NVOCCs (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers): Freight forwarders and NVOCCs often have access to reliable vessel schedule information through their industry networks and partnerships. They can provide accurate and up-to-date details about vessel schedules, estimated arrival times, and any potential delays or changes.

Port Community Systems (PCS): Some countries or regions have Port Community Systems, which are digital platforms that facilitate information exchange among various stakeholders in the port community, including shipping lines, ports, terminals, and customs authorities.