Estimated Time of Arrival: How to Approach ETA Calculations in Logistics

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“ I told you I ’ five hundred be there in 5 minutes. Stop calling me every half an hour ! ”
How much do you have to wait for a friend who ’ randomness running former ? It ’ sulfur amazing how some people are so bad at time management while being then dependable at making up reasons for chronic lateness. It ’ second dealings, bankrupt vehicles, alarm problems, alien visits… Whatever the casing this time, you swallow another excuse, have your time wasted, and credibly feel annoy, angry, or upset, depending on your character character .
In business, fourth dimension is money. And in the logistics industry, where you frequently have to connect multiple processes and people into a accurate sequence of operations, the monetary value of delays is excessively high and the value of accurate planning is immeasurable. Just to illustrate the scale, remember Suez Canal being blocked by the Ever Given container ship in March 2021 ? Experts calculated that it was holding up trade with a sum daily value of $ 9.6 billion !
In this article, we ’ ll explore what stands behind those ETA, ETD, and ETC acronym and what can help you take the guess out of your meter estimations .

What are ETA, ETD, and ETC?

ETA or estimated time of arrival is the fourth dimension when a vehicle or person is expected to reach its/their address. The calculation is based on the planned duration of the route. In logistics, it refers to the transportation of goods and is typically used to inform customers of the time the vehicle carrying their cargo will arrive .
ETD can have one of two meanings .

  1. Estimated time of departure is the time when the transport departs from the starting point. Typically, it refers to ocean/air cargo carriers leaving the port/airport of origin. This estimate is especially important for shippers who send goods internationally and work with consolidators.
  2. Estimated time of delivery is the final point of the supply chain. It’s the time when the package or shipment is expected to be handed over to the final customer. It’s mainly used in the last mile delivery settings.

Since both interpretations are used in the logistics diligence, we ’ ll extend the ETD to ETDep and ETDel to avoid misunderstandings .
ETC or estimated time of completion is besides sometimes called close up and means the time when certain activities are completed. It can refer to service provision or the loading/unloading march .

ETA vs ETDel

These two terms are unlike since arrival clock time doesn ’ t constantly equal manner of speaking time. For case, in nautical ship, ETA can refer to the clock the vessel enters the port, but ETDel would be the time cargo is transferred to the warehouse. It can besides be authoritative for messenger services, for example, in case of manner of speaking to a multi-office clientele build. here, ETA is the time the messenger arrives, while ETDel is the here and now packages are delivered to specific consignees .

ETDel vs ETC

The independent deviation here is the field of application. As we said, ETDel refers to the actual pass over of shipments or goods, while ETC is frequently used in the service diligence. For example, if you have a 10 am date for equipment alimony that is expected to take 3 hours, ETC is 1 autopsy .

Why are ETA, ETD, and ETC important?

The main goal of these estimates is to constantly be informed about the clock of supply chain operations and the changes that occur. It ’ mho all-important for all parties involved in the transportation process .
Ports/airports must know the ETA and ETDep to efficiently plan their operations and reduce congestion. furthermore, it ’ south important to monitor the real-time changes in ETA/ETDep to be able to redirect vessels or airplanes in case of delays .
Carriers need accurate time estimations to support the scheduling process. Truckers should control drivers ’ hours of service and arrange future loads ; atmosphere carriers must plan on the fuel custom ; and ship owners want to secure chartering contracts well in boost. real-time visibility allows dispatchers to immediately reschedule in case of any delays or disruptions .
If a carrier miscalculates the ETA and gets delayed, it often results in solid fines. And besides, customers want to track their shipments and be mindful of the manner of speaking degree in real clock time so it ’ s about their atonement as well .
Complementary service providers include dockers, cranes, forklifts, tugs, and other personnel and equipment involved in the loading/unloading summons. They frequently operate on a rental basis and need carriers ’ ETA to schedule their activities .
Consignees are the ones that rely on accurate planning the most since it ’ s the footing of efficient inventory management. Knowing the accurate time goods are delivered, businesses can plan their fabricate, repositing, cubic yard, and sales activities. It allows for avoiding both overstocking and stockouts american samoa well as staff idle and thousand congestion .
In addition, receivers are normally the ones who pay, for exercise, for crane lease. Delays can cause extra expenses for rental period extension, detention, or arranging for an alternate meter. The lapp about port inspections, demurrage, and thus on. And if you deal with perishable goods, late deliveries can be the reason for meaning loss .
Okay, sol now it ’ second obvious that these estimations are an essential part of the add chain process. The motion is how to make their results ampere accurate as possible ?
note that in our overview, we ’ ll focus on ETA calculations as the most crucial and prone to change due to the determine of external factors .

How to calculate estimated time of arrival?

In logistics, multiple factors impact shipping duration. They include

  • route distance between origin and destination,
  • vehicle/vessel average speed,
  • number and duration of intermediate stops,
  • weather conditions,
  • time needed for refueling,
  • traffic,
  • available hours of service and mandatory rest periods for truck drivers, and so on (not to mention all sorts of emergency situations).

factors impacting ETAWhat impacts ETA
What impacts eta As we all know from middle educate course of study, clock equals distance divided by accelerate. so, if you know the path distance and exile modal amphetamine, you can well make a harsh calculate of, say, hand truck arrival time. You can do it manually or with versatile computational tools like Excel .
This approach is dim-witted and doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate require any investment or growth effort, but we all understand that such “ predictions ” are far from reality .
Since customers become more demanding and want to know precisely what ’ s happening with their goods, shippers and carriers have to keep up and improve their service, providing the most accurate information. Currently, technology enables us to track shipments in veridical fourth dimension, create experimental forecasts, and make accurate time estimates. sol, let ’ s take a expression at more technological options .
today, everybody is familiar with navigation systems. equitable as you use Waze or Google Maps when driving your car, most carriers use specialized software to plan their routes. In the truck, delivery, or service industry, it can be a character of, for model, a flit management system or a standalone routing joyride. Air and ocean carriers besides rely on satellite seafaring systems for positioning and timing purposes ( for example, Air Navigation Pro, StormGeo s-Routing, AdrenaShip, etc. ) .
routeIQ by zoho
RouteIQ routing creature by ZohoCRM
All these platforms make more advance and accurate calculations, taking into account such extra fluctuate factors as upwind, dealings, delays, port congestion, etc. Routes are tracked in real fourth dimension and adjusted if necessary. ETAs are provided automatically and besides are corrected constantly .
If you are, for model, an eCommerce occupation, you ’ re credibly dealing with shipping carriers that offer tracking functionality. here, ETAs besides come along by nonpayment. We have a detail article about integrating dispatch tracking from different providers, for example, API aggregators, parcel couriers, cargo carriers, freight forwarders, etc .
evening though tracking and routing tools display an ETA as their essential part, you might need a more feature-rich solution. Your navigation system might not be as exact or convenient as you need or you want wider functionality .
There ’ s a number of focus solutions that specialize in calculating ETAs for your trips. such platforms collect external data from a variety of sources in real clock to provide the most claim estimates. You can use them as separate tools or integrate them into your existing system via APIs ( learn more about API integration from a dedicated station if you ’ re not quite familiar with the concept ). note that you ’ ll have to engage a developer to set up the connectivity .
here, we ’ ll focus on ETA calculations for down and sea carriers as most vulnerable to changes due to external influence. therefore, let ’ s see what ’ second on the market .

Standalone ETA calculators in land transportation

In the hauling, delivery, or service industries, delays are about inevitable. Bad weather, blocked roads, bland tires, whatever hesitations at loading/unloading stops or appointments — it all costs time and postpones planned arrival .
If you are a starter of pitch or sustenance services and coordinate multiple drivers with numerous stops day by day, you need a knock-down tool with automatic notifications. otherwise, your liveliness will become a nightmare, wax of endless calls and unhappy customers. full news — there are a number of solutions that can help .

PTV Drive&Arrive: an industry leader with multiple sharing options

An obvious industry drawing card here is the PTV Drive & Arrive ETA calculator. This tool comes with RESTful JSON APIs ( check their open API information ) so you can request ETA calculations and get results immediately through your internal system .
first, you create your stumble in your routing joyride and transfer its details to the PTV calculator. To accurately define road duration and ETA, PTV Drive & Arrive platform gathers a lot of extra data :

  • telematics information from vehicles, driver apps, or telematics aggregators;
  • map data (including traffic conditions, patterns, and predictions, toll data, etc.); and
  • truck-specific restrictions (low bridges, tunnels, weight limits, U-turns, etc.).

then, there are respective ways you can contribution calculation results, depending on your operation model .

  1. If you work with warehouses, you can enable them to track multiple incoming trucks in real-time by visualizing all the deliveries on the web-based arrival board.

ptv arrival board interface
PTV Arrival Board
2. Another option is integrating the ETA calculation and notification functionality into your existing flit management organization, warehouse management software, holy order management creature, or any other platform you use to operate your occupation. This way, you ’ ll be able to track ETAs from your interface .
3. You besides get a singular ID issue for each trip that can be shared with all stakeholders. They can track the trip progress via a unblock web-based overhaul PTV Trip Viewer or opt for subscribing to SMS or electronic mail notifications .
ptv trip viewer interface
PTV Trip Viewer
PTV Drive & Arrive has a set pricing of 15 cents per each trip monitored .

Agheera: based on the big telematics consolidator

Agheera Arrival Monitoring is based on the industry-recognized telematics collector. The Track.Agheera platform collects data from numerous telematics devices of different manufacturers and provides real-time ETAs .
The Agheera monitoring tool provides a commodious arrival board with an overview of incoming trucks. such real-time visibility allows warehouse and yard operators to optimize their schedule and ramp processes.

You can besides set up custom-make notifications to inform your staff and/or customers about ETA deviations .
Agheera doesn ’ thyroxine provide open API documentation or price plans, so you ’ ll have to contact them to learn more about integration options .

MapTrip: GPS truck-focused tool with rich API suite

MapTrip is a professional GPS tracking solution made for hauling. For routing and ETA calculations, MapTrip considers all truck-specific restrictions such as broken tunnels, sharp U-turns, constrict roads, and thus on. You can besides set up truck dimensions, choose load character ( overdimensional, hazardous, etc. ), and indicate early preferences such as avoiding bell roads .
To get ETA calculation results and notifications, you can use their app interface or integrate its functionality with your own system. MapTrip offers a suite of APIs that allow you to customize your road plan and a Navigation SDK to create your own apps .
MapTrip besides provides a wide range of learning materials to support developers, including YouTube video, detail tutorials, and code examples on GitHub .

MapTrip Server API overview

Cargoclix: convenient integration with SLOT time window management tool

The ETA Management module of Cargoclix seamlessly integrates with its SLOT tool that ’ sulfur frequently used to manage warehouse and yard operations. so if that ’ s what you ’ re presently utilizing, it ’ s the best fit for you .
The ETA calculations consider the fomite ’ s stream stead, distance to address, traffic, and hand truck type. appraisal results are displayed directly within the SLOT time management solution. That allows schedulers and time operators to adjust the design and avoid idleness and yard congestion .
This ETA faculty can besides be used as a standalone app, but you ’ ll have to contact their team to know how you can connect it to other platforms .

Brief overview of Cargoclix ETA app

Standalone ETA calculators in maritime shipping

The ocean is changing barely equally much as roads are. indeed, the need for real-time track is just american samoa big. There are software tools that apply artificial intelligence and car learning methods to analyze both historic and real-time maritime data and make accurate ETA predictions .
Sinay ETAC Module uses information from a transport ’ mho AIS ( Automatic Identification System ) adenine well as ocean and port data to track the military position of vessels globally. The module is connected to a ball-shaped embark database so you can monitor separate vessels or the entire evanesce .
sinay platform
Sinay interface
To track vessels from a network interface, you have to enter the ship ’ s MMSI or IMO total, choose passing port and prison term, and add arrival place. After that, you ’ ll get access to a dashboard with all vessel and path details, a map, statistics, the larboard of arrival, and predicted ETA. Sinay besides indicates a hope index which shows how likely the ETA is to change .
A consolidate ETA splashboard of multiple ships can be created. This choice is specially utilitarian for ports to monitor entrance vessels and their predict ETAs .
sinay port dashboard
Sinay port ETA dashboard
You can besides establish API integration to get the ETA data to your arrangement, but note that you ’ ll have to contact them directly for details since they don ’ thyroxine provide open documentation .
Sinay offers a suite of tools that can be used to support your maritime operations including path plan and optimization, fleet statistics, consumption prediction, and so on. therefore, if you ’ re already using their software or need a comprehensive examination platform, it ’ s a good option .

FleetMon: map views and a variety of APIs

FleetMon Explorer is another browser-based provider of maritime data. It besides has an extensive vessel database for tracking ball-shaped ocean traffic and operations in real time .
You can monitor ships on a map or choose vessels from the list. FleetMon has a user-friendly interface that succinctly displays all the vessel and trip related information, including ETA .
fleetmon tracking interface
FleetMon Explorer live tracking
Besides using the browser interface, you can connect via API and request slip data directly from your system and get ETA calculations. FleetMon provides a rich suite of JSON APIs for different purposes. once you connect, you can receive the needed data with custom-made intervals or just once if necessary. Check the detailed FleetMon API software documentation to learn more .
FleetMon besides offers a mobile app to access vessel information and track your fleet right from your device .

Custom ETA calculators

All businesses are different, and even though there ’ s a wide assortment of divers tools on the market, sometimes it ’ s not enough to seamlessly paroxysm into your work flow and meet your unique needs .
ETA calculation is a complex undertaking that demands considering multidimensional data from different sources. off-the-rack solutions are frequently ineffective to provide the hope accuracy. In that event, consider building a custom-made solution tailored to your specific business requirements .
extensive research has been conducted to find the best overture to calculate arrival times. There are three chief methods ( and a separate hybrid group that combines several of them ) .
The speed/time approach calculates ETA based on information about past trips using only two parameters : the average travel time and the average accelerate. It ’ s widely used ascribable to easy execution and shortstop computational time, but it powerfully relies on stable traffic conditions which is rare, so its accuracy is the lowest compared to the early two .
The statistical based approach applies statistical models to predict ETA based on by estimations and other historic data. They consider the impingement of a bigger count of factors ( traffic congestion, dwell time, etc. ) and can build trends assuming that what happened ahead will happen again, but the calculation results are still far from being precise since real-time data international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate utilized .
The machine learning (ML) based approach is more time-consuming and demands a draw of data for train models. however, modern studies show that this method acting promises to give the most accurate prediction due to processing big amounts of diverse, frequently real-time data and identifying unobvious patterns and dependencies. We recommend you to visit our posts about car learning and data engineering for a general reason of how it works, who has to be engaged, and what results you can get .

Roles in the data science team

Data sources for ETA calculations

To build an accurate, ML-based ETA calculator for trucking, you have to gather data about factors that impact your calculations .

  1. Route information (origin and destination) and details (number of stops, delivery time windows, preferred route, etc.).
  2. Geolocation information (real-time traffic conditions, accidents, speed cameras, and so on). You can connect to such global data providers as TomTom, Here, or OSM. If you have a routing tool, it probably gets information from one of them so check with your provider to see if you can integrate via APIs to have routing and tracking in one system.
  3. Telematics information that includes the vehicle’s speed and geoposition. You can connect to telematics devices installed on your fleet’s vehicles, collect data from specialized driver apps, or partner with a telematics aggregator such as Agheera or Timocom.
  4. Weather information, both historic, current, and forecasted. There are lots of weather APIs. For example, check OpenWeather or Some map data providers also offer weather APIs.
  5. Additional restrictions and factors such as vehicle/cargo type and dimensions, drivers’ available hours, driving style, etc.

how different factors impact ETA
Factors that impact ETA. source : A review of change of location and arrival-time prediction methods on road networks : classification, challenges and opportunities
For an ETA calculator for maritime shipping, datum inputs will be different .

  1. Route information.
  2. Marine weather information that includes data about winds, waves, tides, ice coverage, and all that. For example, it can be obtained from or WorldWeatherOnline.
  3. AIS information about vessels’ positions, speed, and course. It’s similar to telematics data, but to get the full picture of ocean traffic, connect to an aggregator such as AISHub, Spire, or MarineTraffic. Typically, it’s a better option than building your own receiving station. Besides, such platforms also provide valuable port data.
  4. Additional restrictions such as vessel and cargo type.

Effective ML methods to predict ETA

ETA calculation belongs to regression problems of machine learning as it requires prediction of a quantity — unlike classification where a class label is forecasted. Among numerous ML techniques to solve regression tasks, there are several winners .
According to holocene inquiry from Sweden ’ mho Chalmers University of Technology “ Calculation of estimated prison term of arrival using artificial intelligence, ” ensemble methods — namely, random forest and stacked generalization — give the most accurate arrival time predictions .
A random forest algorithm consists of multiple decision trees merged in concert to obtain the most accurate results. Imagine yourself choosing which cable car to buy and asking approximately for advice. As you collect many opinions, you choose the option that was recommended the most. basically, that ’ s the principle of random forest technique .
Stacked generalization or stack is another corps de ballet learn technique that uses predictions of multiple models as inputs for a fresh model. This final examination model combines or blends the different forecasts to achieve greater accuracy. It ’ mho like to you checking the weather bode on different websites, calling weather stations, and asking your grandma about folk superstitions merely to make your own predictions, combining the cognition from all these diverse sources .
Another study by the german Technical University “ Grand Challenge : real-time Destination and ETA Prediction for Maritime Traffic ” suggests using feedforward neural networks ( FNN ) for ETA calculation. FNN is the simplest type of neural network. It takes as stimulation coordinates, naturally, focal ratio, and a number of other parameters useful for ETA tasks, processes them through shroud layers, and returns the prediction via the output level. In the above-mentioned sketch, the FNN with an stimulation level of 200 neurons and only one hidden layer of the lapp size showed the best results. Please read more about deep learning and neural networks in our dedicate article .

Visualization and data sharing

As you obtain time estimates, they have to be visualized either within an existing organization or via arrival circuit board or portal vein, depending on your needs. besides, notifications to different stakeholders have to be set up with options of sharing via diverse communication channels ( electronic mail, SMS, link to portal, API connection to their system, etc. ) and with deviate regularity ( once, hourly, day by day, only if ETA changes, etc. ) .
You can develop your ETA solution on the basis of your existing software or, if you ’ rhenium build from strike, you can partner with the localization technologies provider and make use of their environment ( for example, here Workspace ).

So, buy or build?

The choice whether to buy or build is yours. When making a decisiveness, you have to consider available resources, including software, hardware, and feel staff. Another crucial doubt is how soon you need the software since custom growth is normally very clock time devour .
many off-the-rack solutions offer comprehensive functionality and sufficient flexibility to adapt to your needs, but you ’ ll most probably distillery need to build integrations and cut it to your needs and work flow .
If you opt to develop your customs software, you can fine-tune its functionality to solve your specific business issues, but it ’ s not the best option if you ’ re on a nasty budget or timeframe .

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