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Freight Emissions

The Value of Freight Shipping Emissions Data Mapping as a Service via an API

Despite all the negative consequences of 2020, there were two remarkable things that happened. First, carbon emissions decreased by 5.4% around the globe, as quarantining and social distancing led to drops in commuting, vacationing, and other activities. Secondly, global supply chains reckoned with a black swan event. The overnight explosion of factory shutdowns and shipping delays meant there was a new premium for technology that could help shippers and carriers gain visibility on their cargo and anticipate possible disruptions.

Even after normal activity resumed worldwide, the need to reduce CO2 emissions became even more significant within the logistics industry. The drive for technological innovation brought forth by the pandemic helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gas dumped into the environment.

One way logistics companies measure their environmental impact and find ways to lower their carbon imprint is through API technology. As we’ll explain in this article, APIs centralize the data of shippers and then map it from multiple datasets. Once an API receives the data, it can reconfigure that information to make it legible, manageable, and understandable to shippers. As a result, shippers can utilize and analyze this data to make decisions that benefit their organization and help lower their freight emissions.

The Role of Data Mapping Shipment Data via API

What is Data Mapping?

Data mapping refers to matching information from one database to another. One set of data, called the “source,” is linked or “mapped” to a separate database, known as a “target.” Customer data is usually stored in multiple databases, like emails, Excel sheets, or other internal systems. Data mapping is essentially having these databases talk to each other.

Data mapping aims to integrate information between sources, such as collecting and combining data between a sales and marketing team. For data to be analyzed, there needs to be a standardized process that collects information free of errors and redundancies. If a company maps customer information from one database to another, it would want to match it to the same customer in another database.

Data mapping takes place via API or application programming interface technology. An API is an intermediary software program that enables two different applications to communicate. Odds are you’ve used this technology already. For example, most applications on a smartphone utilize API technology. A banking application connects to the internet and sends data to a server. The server would receive the data, perform the requested action, and send the results back to your phone. The banking application would then interpret the data and present it in a readable format.

APIs can facilitate communication between web servers and browsers or between data warehouses. 

Why is Data Mapping Important for Quality & Accessible Freight Data?

Data mapping directly impacts how logistics companies track their freight emissions and gain visibility on their supply chain. 

Suppose the past two years have taught the logistics industry anything. In that case, it’s important to know the real-time location and status of all shipments and be ready to anticipate and respond to possible supply chain disruptions. Visibility tools have helped supply chains become more resilient and allowed shippers to streamline and optimize logistics operations. By maximizing cost effectiveness, shippers can improve their bottom line. They can also curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

For visibility to be effective, a shipper’s data must be timely and accurate. Data that is unhelpful to businesses, not clean, standardized, and free of redundancies. This is precisely what data mapping addresses, as it gives shippers clean, accurate data they can use to make decisions.

Use Cases of Data Mapping Freight Shipping Emissions Data via API

The statistics around ocean shipping are sobering. In April 2022, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that unless emissions are cut in half by 2030, the world will warm to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with deleterious consequences for the planet. According to the International Maritime Organization, maritime transportation is currently responsible for nearly 3% of greenhouse gas emissions and could rise to 130% of 2008 levels by mid-century.

Meanwhile, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that pollution from ocean transportation is responsible for 60,000 untimely deaths each year. From the ICCT: 

“Fine particulate matter and ozone from on-road vehicles, non-road engines, and oceangoing vessels was linked to an estimated 385,000 premature deaths in 2015 worldwide. About half of these deaths were attributed to air pollution from diesel cars, trucks, and buses. But a surprisingly large fraction of the early mortality—approximately 15%, or 60,000 deaths—was due to air pollution from the 70,000 international ships that ply the world’s oceans. That equates to about 160 billion dollars of health damages annually.”

Consumers, investors, and logistics companies are catching on to the impending climate disaster, demanding that more be done to address emissions and environmental sustainability. A recent McKinsey & Co survey found that 66% of consumers consider sustainability and care about a company’s commitment to the environment when making a purchase. And there’s been a 71% increase in internet searches globally for sustainable goods, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. As end users grow more conscientious, they’ve even expressed a willingness to ditch shippers who don’t incorporate sustainable practices altogether.

In other words, the stakes are high. It’s not enough to provide a quality product in 2022. Consumers want companies to maintain sustainable practices, including curbing Scope 3 emissions.

This means that tracking and lowering carbon freight emissions is just as critical to a shipper’s success as providing a popular product – and data mapping with API technology is how you get there. But what does data mapping look like for cargo ship emissions specifically?

The Searoutes API automatically pipes into a customer’s systems providing data such as carbon emissions per shipping mode, per equipment or equipment length, ultimately culminating in each freight move’s total shipping carbon footprint.

This allows companies to report their carbon emissions and plan ways to reduce them. Observing emissions data from different angles enables a more complete picture of a company’s Scope 3 greenhouse gas contributions.

A visual of carbon emissions also shows a company where improvements need to be made. Searoutes technology creates a CO2 risk profile for each carrier to aid shippers during tendering. Finding the greenest routes, modes, or carriers and using ports that reduce inland transport will immediately impact a company’s greenhouse emissions.

Data mapping is helpful no matter what segment of shipping you’re in. Let’s look at a few use cases here.


By now, the benefits of carbon monitoring to shippers should be clear. They are, after all, the companies that are under the gun to reduce their shipping carbon footprint. Searoutes has detailed the importance of CO2 emissions tracking and the steps shippers can take now to reduce their carbon footprint. 

API technology has big impact on a company’s logistics operations and technical departments. Think about divisions run by a Chief Digital Officer, Innovation Officer, Global Head, or EVP of Visibility. They can expand their digital footprint without having to purchase new software. 

Automation helps companies collect data automatically, which can be tabulated into reports effortlessly and efficiently, saving time and money while eliminating the potential for human errors imputed with manual entry. In addition, Searoutes’ technology computes complicated CO2 freight emissions equations and automatically integrates them into a customer’s existing technology.  

On the business side, Global Heads of Ocean Freight or Ocean Product are going to focus on growing and promoting their product, and providing the best possible service for that product. 

API-first technology comes into play here too. Take customer requirement fulfillment. When carbon emissions data flows in, companies can provide accurate CO2 reporting, determine the best transportation options (both in terms of price and environmental impact), and verify shipment completion.

There’s an option to edge out the competition by giving customers multiple options pre-shipment and informing them of the environmental ramifications post-shipment. And sales teams get a boost by having precise, up-to-the-minute cargo ship emissions data ready to provide to customers.

What’s the overall takeaway? Shippers who use API technology to track greenhouse gas data give themselves an automatic leg up over their competition. Specifically, they reduce the number of lost tenders. By having current carbon data, they also gain a competitive advantage with consumers who account for sustainable practices in buying decisions. They provide better service externally by optimizing for efficiency and storing carbon visibility data for interested parties. Finally, shippers using API technology give themselves better tools to improve their business internally.

But API technology isn’t just for shippers. It can empower carriers and even providers of logistics technology services.

Freight Forwarders

If you’re a freight forwarder, you care about maximizing transportation efficiency. Nobody wants to have container space getting sucked up on a longer route than necessary or have assets languish while waiting to berth at a port.

Accessing freight emissions data is a great way to make operations more economical for freight forwarders too! Incoming carbon emissions data tells carriers a lot about the efficiency of their routes. And it can help determine the most efficient options for each transportation leg by accounting for transportation mode, service levels, and port structure.

For example, a freight forwarder might seek out new routes based on ocean patterns, or an NVOCC could find a new ocean carrier partner based on the emissions data collected via API.

Logistics Tech Platforms

Even logistics tech platforms may find it beneficial to integrate Searoutes data. One example is VIZION, a supply chain visibility platform, and Searoutes customers.

VIZION tracks detailed container information and pushes it to BCOs and shipper customers. By piping in Searoute’s carbon emissions data, VIZION looks closely at freight emissions information for each move. Searoutes’ API allows VIZION’s end users (shippers and freight forwarders) to make carbon-conscious decisions when booking trade lanes or deciding which equipment to use.

Why Interoperability Bolsters Carbon Emission Reduction in the Logistics Industry

Visibility isn’t simply a passing fad in logistics operations. In an April 2022 article, the research firm Gartner reported that 61% of executives see technology “as a source of competitive advantage.” 75% of respondents identified analytics and data science as a high priority to improve decision-making. As data figures more and more prominently in an organization’s direction, the need for effective interoperability – that is, the ability to share information and work together – will head in the same direction.

As logistics technology continues along this trajectory, it will provide a growing context to shipping data. Whereas in the past, companies may have learned the whereabouts of a shipment from a phone call, they now have data from different transportation partners. This information can aid in predictive decision-making.

Interoperability plays a big role in transparency. Data sharing and collaboration are yielding a “sum of all parts is greater than the whole” experience for end users – more abundant information from a greater number of sources is putting users in a better spot to guide their companies forward.

Nowhere is this more the case than in tracking and reducing carbon emissions. A growing culture of interoperability, combined with data mapping tools, makes CO2 emissions tracking widely accessible. These instruments can help create a visual to show relevant stakeholders or track a company’s progress towards lowering fossil fuel pollution.

Thanks to API technology, quantifying greenhouse gas emissions is no longer nice for large shippers who can afford it. Instead, companies of all sizes can get visibility into their impact on the environment – and let it shape their decisions going forward.

Ocean shipping is a staple of the global supply chain. Addressing its environmental impact can be overwhelming to shippers who rely on it. But we can’t address the demand for sustainable shipping, not to mention the overall impact of carbon emissions, by putting our heads in the sand.

To tackle this challenge head-on, companies need emissions data exhibited clearly in a format that’s easy to understand and communicate to stakeholders. As we’ve explained in the article, API technology pulls freight emissions information directly from its source and displays it in a digestible format.

Searoutes is the only API first provider of freight shipping emissions data. The technology pulls data in real-time, allowing shippers to access a dashboard of information that’s constantly being updated.

Suppose your goal is to partner with the most sustainable carriers, operate on the most fuel-efficient routes, and look out for new ways to reduce your environmental impact. In that case, the data Searoutes provides is exactly what you need. Schedule a demo with Searoutes today to learn how to reduce your company’s carbon emissions.

Freight Emissions