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Ask HN: Anyone interested in a open source library to track shipping containers?
9 points by dhruvkar 48 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments
I'm writing a library to track shipping containers across all major shipping lines and railroads (North America only).

Curious if other people here work on similar things and would be interested in collaborating, or even just using, said library?

I would be interesting in seeing the source as a learning project. I find this intriguing, as I would have no idea where to start.

As a first question, what motivated you to make this? Second question, are we talking by ship, train or truck? Or all three?

> motivation

We import and distribute natural stone slabs, wholesale. A major part of that is import and logistics. It's a problem we have, so I'm building this to solve our own issues.

I've talked to other distributors and depending on how large they are, they handle this by either a spreadsheet or an EDI server. This seems either underkill or overkill to me.

> transport

Talking ship and train. This data is freely available and these two are currently relevant to us.

open to more questions if you're interested!

Is this kind of info publicly available? I know tracking trains / providing this info publicly is illegal in many US states.

You can track containers on railroad websites. Some require a company login, which they manually approve. Others don't. Some require you to be a 'Notify Party', others don't.

The trains aren't being tracked. Containers are. And not real time. Rather it's a snapshot every 12-18 hours.

Maybe what you're thinking of applies to the trains themselves? Or specific types of railcars?

Can you speak more to this? I've thought about using some ALPR type system to read tanker car registrations from a nearby webcam.

I'd be interested in expanding the library to cover the MENA region.

The ship part is easy.

What rails operate in that region, if any, that have openly available container tracking?

I can look into it. I work in the Trade and Commercial office of UAE Embassy in DC so I think some helpful information could come from this.

Would be very interested actually on using, possibly collaborating depending what is needed/involved.

Awesome, what line of work are you in? Are there any shipping lines in particular that you use most?

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