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Example "International Ocean Transportation" scenario delivered with SAP TM for SAP EM

In the below depicted scenario, the logistics department of the shipping department plans an ocean transport for three full container movement from the production facility in Santiago, Chile, to a customer in Austin, Texas. The containers will be transported via truck from Santiago to the port-of-loading in Valparaíso, Chile. From the port, the ship will sail through the Panama Canal, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to reach the port-of-discharge in Houston, Texas. The goods will be inspected by US Customs in Houston, Texas. Since the Panama Canal is under construction, and ships must wait their turn to move through the locks, delays are anticipated at this point in the journey. SAP EM will be a vital piece of moving this shipment to the customer on time because it will alert the parties involved of any unexpected events.

International Ocean Transportation Scenario

This shipment is multi-modal and composed of three legs. The main leg, or main carriage, of this journey is considered to be the ocean travel. The preliminary leg, or pre-carriage, is the truck movement from Santiago to Valparaíso. The subsequent, final, or on-carriage, leg is the move via truck from Houston to Austin.


Each full container is represented by a freight unit. Three freight units will be created and assigned to a freight order. The containers will require some kind of powered equipment to be moved, so a tractor with a trailer attached will be selected to carry the container. Trailers cannot move without tractors; tractors are most useful when they are moving trailers. A GPS device will be located somewhere in the tractor so its location can be triangulated. The trailer will also have a unique identifier, and it may be equipped with its own signal-sending equipment. Event messages can be received for each of these pieces of equipment and they can be tracked individually under their own event handler in SAP EM.


Below is a list of expected events that will be found on the documents created in SAP TM:

For the Resource

  • Departure

  • Arrival at Destination

For the Freight Unit

  • Scheduled

  • Loading Begin

  • Loading End

  • Departure

  • Arrival at Destination

  • Unloading Begin

  • Unloading End

For the Transportation Unit

  • Scheduled

  • Loading Begin

  • Loading End

  • Departure

  • Arrival at Destination

  • Unloading Begin

  • Unloading End

For the Freight Order

  • Loading Begin

  • Loading End

  • Customs Clearance

  • Proof of Pickup

  • Arrival at Destination

  • Unloading Begin

  • Unloading End

  • Proof of Delivery


The three freight units, or tractor-trailers, are combined, and a freight order is planned in SAP TM. Each tractor-trailer will have its own Bill of Lading (government requirement for transport), and a Master Bill of Lading can be created to show that only a single customer order is represented. Having individual Bill of Ladings and a Master Bill of Lading will allow SAP EM to track each tractor-trailer in addition to the entire order in the system without extra work having to be done by the business. SAP EM created a corresponding event handler for the individual freight order and the combined master freight order, which will track the shipment of all containers from origin to the destination. The Freight Order event handler for the Master Bill of Lading may also be represented by the House Waybill Number.


Once the tractor-trailers are available to be loaded with the containers, the LOADING BEGIN activity has started. When all of the tractor-trailer are loaded with their assigned containers, the event message LOADING END will be entered into the system. A POPU, or Proof of Pickup, will be issued as an event message. The tractor-trailers will depart the shipper's location, passing through a quality check at the gate. When the last tractor-trailer passes through the gate, a DEPARTURE event message will be logged.

Once the tractor-trailers begin reaching the port-of-loading, the ARRIVAL at DESTINATION event messages begin populating the SAP EM system. These messages will populate both the Freight Unit Event Handlers and the Freight Order Event Handler, when all three of the tractor-trailers have arrived at the port. The containers will be loaded on to the ship according to the plan laid out in the Booking, or Forwarding, Order. As the containers are removed from the tractor-trailers, and loaded on to the ship, UNLOADING BEGIN Event Messages will populate the Freight Unit Event Handlers in SAP EM and flow into SAP TM. When the final container is on-board, the UNLOADING END Event Message will be issued. If all of the containers are loaded in good condition, the preliminary leg of the shipment is complete.


The containers can be tracked during the main leg of the trip as freight units in SAP EM. If damage or a delay occurs to any one of the containers, the status will be reflected in the unexpected event message received by the Freight Unit Event Handler. The shipper's transportation planner will be alerted to take action. The Freight Order Event Handler will not be updated, since only one container was affected. If an Unexpected Event Message occurs to all containers, the Freight Order Event Handler, as well as the Freight Unit Event Handlers, will be updated with the information. Any delays to the ship will affect all containers, so Freight Unit Event Handlers and Freight Order Event Handler will be updated.


Once the ocean vessel arrives at the port-of-discharge, the process is reversed. The containers will show as ARRIVAL at DESTINATION. The UNLOADING of containers will begin. The individual Freight Unit Event Handlers will start to be updated with this information. When the last container is unloaded from the ship, and UNLOADING END message will be sent to SAP EM. The Freight Order Event Handler will be updated, as well as the last Freight Unit Event Handlers.


The customer has arranged for their tractor-trailers to pick up the containers at the port-of-discharge. The containers will be inspected by US Customs at the port in Houston. As each container passes Customs, the individual Freight Unit Event Handler status is updated with the information. After all containers pass through Customs, the Freight Order Event Handler will be update with the same information. The containers are loaded on to the customer's tractor-trailers. The customer agreed to accept delivery at the port-of-discharge, so the POD, or Proof of Delivery, Event Message is generated and sent. The Freight Order Event Handler is marked as DELIVERED, and the shipment is complete.

Transportation Event Handler Relationship Diagram

The figure above shows how end-to-end visibility is maintained across the four transportation-related documents and their corresponding event handlers. The preliminary leg, or pre-carriage, transport is planned and assigned a Bill of Lading number. The preliminary leg freight order and its associated freight units can be found by using this Bill of Lading number because it represents the unique identifier for the Freight Order Event Handler.


When the main leg, or main-carriage, of the trip is planned in the Booking Order (represents an ocean shipment), a corresponding event handler is also created. The main leg is assigned a Master Bill of Lading number, covering the entire shipment.


For the last leg of the transport, the subsequent, final or on-carriage leg, a Freight Order Event Handler is created that contains the Master Bill of Lading number, which is related to the individual Freight Units that make up the shipment. Use the Master Bill of Lading number to select the entities involved in the end-to-end transport of these Freight Units.

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