One of the great fears faced by all those who charter sea containers is losing their cargo.

An uncertainty with which it is possible to end up installing a freight container tracking device that tells you the exact geolocation of the cargo in real time.

This is something that has been done for years in the transportation and delivery sector and has recently started to be used with shipping of sea containers as well.

Given its importance and the growth in its adoption, BOXXPORT wanted to devote an article to the tracking of sea freight containers, explaining the purpose of this activity and the main types of freight container tracking that exist today.

What is sea container tracking?

Sea freight container tracking is the process of monitoring the location and status of cargo containers as they move across the oceans on cargo ships.

This is done through GPS tracking systems and other technologies that allow shipping companies and cargo owners to keep track of the location of their goods at all times.

Thanks to container tracking systems, freight operators and their customers can track the location of the container and its progress in real time, which is a great help in planning and managing the entire logistics process.

Ocean container tracking technology

In the world of freight forwarding, container tracking is essential to ensure that goods arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.

Today, the technologies used for container tracking are constantly evolving and offer a wide range of options for carriers and customers.

Listed below are some of the most common technologies used for container tracking.


Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technology that has long been used for container tracking.

It allows shipping operators and customers to know the exact location of the container in real time.

The GPS system works through a network of satellites orbiting the Earth that send signals to a receiver located in the container. The location data is sent to a central database that can be accessed by interested parties.

However, it has some limitations. First, it does not work well in areas with poor coverage, such as in remote areas or inside buildings. In addition, GPS cannot provide complete information about the status of the container, such as its temperature or humidity.

👉 Here is everything you need to know about Smart Containers


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is used for freight container tracking in some situations.

It uses a tag or chip that contains information about the container, such as its serial number and location. This information is transmitted over a wireless network to a receiver located at a tracking station.

Unlike other freight container tracking systems, RFID allows containers to be tracked in real time during both sea and land transport.

One of the main advantages of RFID is that it does not require line of sight to operate. This means that the container can be tracked even if it is inside a building or in an area with poor coverage. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to implement.

However, it also has limitations, as the RF signal can interfere with other wireless devices nearby, and the information stored on the tag or chip can be erased or altered if the container is damaged or mishandled.

👉 Secure your shipping container with this mini guide

Telemetry systems

Telemetry systems are an advanced technology used for freight container tracking systems.

This is because they allow real-time monitoring of a wide variety of parameters, such as temperature, humidity, pressure and light level. In addition, they can also provide information on container location and movement.

Telemetry systems work through sensors that are installed inside the container. These sensors are connected to a transmission unit that sends the data to a central database that can be accessed by users with credentials either through a website or an app.

The biggest advantage of this system is that it is able to provide a wealth of information about the condition of the container, which can help prevent damage and ensure that goods arrive in good condition.

In addition, they can be used to improve transport efficiency, as operators can use the real-time information to adjust the route or speed of transport.

Among their main disadvantages are their high installation and maintenance cost, as well as the complexity of their installation.

Other freight container tracking systems

In addition to all these technologies, there are other container shipment tracking systems that are used for container tracking, so depending on your needs and possibilities you will be more interested in resorting to one or the other.

For example, our container Radar, a tool with which you can locate the demands and offers of the container market in real time and with total transparency. Buying and selling shipping containers has never been so easy!