ETA vs. ETD: Understanding the Key Differences and the Role of ATA, ATD, in Routing Software


By Komal Puri | September 25, 2023

In the logistics business, timely delivery is the key to business success. This can make or break the business. However, time management doesn't only refer to the time of arrival here. It also takes into account the actual time of departure. That's where the concepts of ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) and ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) become imperative. Let’s understand why these terms are important in logistics and discover how FarEye's routing software can revolutionize your routing processes.

ETA vs. ETD - Let’s Understand the Basics


As the name suggests, ETA refers to the expected arrival time of the package at the destination. Nowadays, logistics companies show the ETA of delivery as soon as the shipment begins.  

What is its significance? 

ETA offers clarity to customers so they can plan their activities without missing the delivery. Customers also appreciate ETA when the package contains perishable goods, such as food items or flowers. On the other hand, ETA also helps logistic companies streamline their inventory management to meet the deadline. 

Factors influencing ETA

The following factors definitely influence the ETA of delivery:

  • Distance 

  • Speed

  • Traffic conditions

  • Weather

  • Pre-planned stops along the route

However, using advanced technologies and algorithms also helps shippers generate precise ETA in real-time during transit based on live traffic data and other metrics.  


ETD can indicate two different meanings; estimated time of delivery, and estimated time of departure. Let’s understand both in detail. 

Estimated Time of Departure and its Significance 

This indicates the beginning of a last-mile delivery. It indicates the time of departure from the storage facility. It is important for the shipment companies. ETD helps them plan their loading, schedule related routes, and coordinate the entire supply chain accordingly. 

Factors Influencing Estimated Time of Departure

The estimated time of departure is directly proportional to various pre-departure activities, such as: 

  • Loading time

  • Inspection time

  • Load planning 

Estimated Time of Delivery and its Significance 

ETD can also mean the estimated time the package will reach the customer. Thus, it indicates the final point of a logistic supply chain. We all know its importance for customers. But most people get it confused with ETA (estimated time of arrival). Both can be different and we will cover them in this article. 

Factors Influencing Estimated Time of Delivery

  • Weather conditions

  • Traffic conditions

  • Custom clearance delays

  • Security checks

  • Logistic handling efficiency 


ATA and ATD represent the actual time of arrival and departure, respectively. What’s the need for actual estimations while we get anticipated times through ETA and ETD? Let’s understand. 

  • ATA (Actual Time of Arrival): ATA represents the actual time the shipment arrives at the final destination of the supply chain. Ideally, it should match with the ETA, but sometimes, the actual arrival can be different than the estimated one due to various reasons. It could happen due to bad weather or traffic delays. 
  • ATD (Actual Time of Departure): ATD indicates the actual time the shipment leaves the origin point. It may differ from ETD, but ideally, the time gap should be minimal. Shipment companies use ATD to predict ETA and plan subsequent stages of transportation. 

The Importance of Accurate ETA and ETD

Accurate ETA and ETD help logistic companies in:

  • Efficient Planning: Accurate ETA and ETD estimates help logistic companies plan their route and allocate resources to meet delivery deadlines. It also helps customers stay updated with the shipment information to plan their day without missing the delivery.  
  • Customer satisfaction: What could be more satisfying for customers to receive the delivery as per the ETA? It builds trust in the brand and the team. Meeting ETAs develop positive branding to facilitate repeat business and draw new clients through positive word of mouth. 
  • Cost Reduction: Accurate ETA and ETD estimations help in reducing operational expenses in various ways. For instance, with accurate ETAs, shipping companies can easily avoid demurrage costs and detention fees. Even shipping companies can easily avoid contractual penalties due to delivery delays by showcasing a transparent delivery timeline. 

Needless to say, inaccurate ETA and ETD can cause severe operational disruptions and financial loss to shipping businesses. Above all, businesses may lose customers due to missing estimated deadlines. 

Who Needs ETA vs. ETD and Why

ETA and ETD are very important to various stakeholders in the logistics and transportation industry. Let’s understand who they are and why these information pieces are important to them. 

  • Logistic Companies: As already discussed, logistics companies plan their entire operation, schedule resources, and commit to timely delivery based on ETA and ETD. It directly impacts their efficiency and customer satisfaction. 
  • Shippers and Suppliers: Shippers and suppliers always aim to avoid overstocking or stockout of items at the warehouse. This translates to financial losses. With precise ETA and ETD, they know when goods will arrive at the warehouse and plan their inventory management accordingly to avoid overstocking or stockouts with ease.  
  • Retailers and E-commerce Platforms: They are solely focused on meeting on-time delivery at the customer end. That’s how they build trust. Knowing accurate ETAs helps them promise a reasonable deadline, while with ETDs, they coordinate pickup from multiple suppliers for efficient order fulfillment. 
  • Manufacturers: Manufacturers depend on accurate ETDs of raw materials and other components to plan their productions. This helps them reduce production downtime. On the other hand, accurate ETAs help them manage outbound logistics as per the plan. 
  • Customers: End customers plan their receipt of goods with the estimated time of arrival. In their absence, they allocate personnel to avoid missed deliveries.
  • Government Agencies: Government agencies present at the port or border security depend on ETA and ETD information as well. This information allows them to manage port operations, customs clearance, and border security accordingly. 
  • Emergency Service: For emergency services like ambulances and law enforcement agencies, arrival and departure times of resources at a scene are important. This becomes imperative when it is a matter of life and death. 

FarEye Routing Software - A Solution for Efficient Routing

Let’s see how FarEye Routing Software helps the logistics and transportation industry develop accurate ETA and ETD. 

  • Route Optimization: With FarEye's advanced route optimization feature, logistics can plan their route by considering predictive live traffic conditions and existing road closures. This improves the ETA accuracy. On the other hand, dynamic route optimization with real-time updates further guarantees ETD to earn customer loyalty. 
  • Live Tracking: When you can track your shipments and vehicles live, noting accurate ATD and ATA data becomes automatic. Live tracking through traffic also enables shipping companies to adjust their ETA and ETD for customers and internal processing. 
  • Improved Communication: FarEye automatically notifies real-time updates on departures and arrivals with drivers, dispatchers, and customers to maintain transparency. What are the results? First, it improves communication. Second, it streamlines activity down the supply chain with automation. 

Benefits of Integrating FarEye with ETA and ETD Management

Now, let’s take a look at the benefits that FarEye Routing Software with ETA and ETD management systems offers, 

  • Improved Time Accuracy: The software offers real-time updates on shipment arrival and departure. This helps businesses reduce uncertainties about delivery and inventory management. As a result, they become able to offer more reliable delivery windows to their customers. 
  • Cost Efficiency: With efficient route optimization support, shipping companies minimize transit times, transit frequencies, and subsequent travel fuel costs. Additionally, they can avoid ideal times for workers with precise ETA and ETD to optimize labor costs and save loss on empty warehouses.   
  • Customer Satisfaction: Customers highly value on-time delivery. With reliable ETAs and ATAs powered by smart, transparent, dynamic route optimization, FarEye helps businesses to exceed customer expectations without any missed deadlines. 

End Thoughts

When it comes to logistics, time management is the key to success. Business thrives on how efficiently you meet ETA and ETD and how you reflect on ATA and ATD to streamline your operation. In this regard, FarEye's Routing Software not only aids in running operations on time but also helps businesses optimize cost and earn customer satisfaction with ease. 

Komal puri

Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.

Komal Puri
Sr. Director of Marketing | FarEye

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