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6 Ways Automated Railcar Tracking Simplifies Shipping Processes, Avoids Oversights And Reduces Delays

Posted on July 18, 2019 | Posted in: Railcar Tracking

Automated functions on modern railcar tracking software do more than just allow users to easily populate information on shipping documents. They help ensure all shipping information is accurate and up-to-date, which in turn can prevent costly delays and holdups that can occur if there is a mistake.

Here are just a few ways today’s advanced railcar tracking systems can make your job easier through automation.

1. Generate and integrate BOLs:

Today’s top software’s make it simple to generate BOLs for both manifest and unit trains. In some cases, unit trains can be consolidated under one bill or according to different cars. These systems allow you to enter all required information, including product, parties to the waybill, point of departure, destination, route and railroad and more.

2. Produce Hazardous Materials Documentation:

Using a central railcar tracking software allows you to easily document hazardous material information, and ensure it is integrated and communicated to all necessary reporting bodies and stakeholders.

3. Streamline Customs Documentation:

With many automated systems, all relevant information can be imported to create a customs report (EDI 810) in the U.S. and Canada for each car. This ensures you are meeting import/export requirements on both sides of the border. When the form is complete, some software systems are programmed to automatically send it to agencies, customs brokers, railroads, customers and other service providers.

4. Protect against errors:

Many of today’s software’s are remarkably intuitive. They are able to pick up on manual entry errors that don’t add up and flag them for review.

For example, users could receive a warning if they assign a railcar to carry an incompatible product or enter a number in excess of cargo capacity. Or, systems with maintenance tracking functionality can identify if a railcar selected for a shipment is currently scheduled for maintenance.

In some cases, shipment reporting features can also be used to validate third-party invoices and identify any discrepancies. This allows you to apply adjustments before settlement with third parties or the railroads – ensuring your company isn’t left on the hook for improperly applied charges.

5. Capture all data as shipments are handed off:

As cargos are transferred between railcars, trucks, tanks, barges or other vessels, automated railcar tracking software makes it easy to track that cargo for more accurate monitoring of transload cargos.

6. Integration with other shipment platforms:

Does your company use an ERP system, such as Energy Trading Risk Management? Many railcar tracking systems are built to easily integrate with standard enterprise platforms for accurate and streamlined data sharing across your business units. Some can even capture freight invoices (EDI 410s) from railroads for freight payors… and reconcile data with actual railroad invoices. If there are cost discrepancies, they will be identified.

In fact, smart railcar tracking systems can pull together data entered in the system to calculate a wide variety of shipping charges – including customs charges, mileage costs, State/province surcharges, carbon taxes and more. 

Automation keeps your fleet moving

Errors, oversight and emissions on shipping documents such as BOLs, customs documents, or hazardous goods documents can result in unnecessary holdups. This may lead to cars being subject to detention or to demurrage charges.

Automated railcar tracking software’s also reduce the stress and workload on your team: improving accuracy and efficiency of data entry, while limiting problems that can take a lot of time and effort to resolve.

For all of these reasons, using automated railcar tracking software’s should simply be an automatic decision.

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