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Delivery Logistics

Deciphering ETA and ETD: Arrival vs. Departure Times

Understand the nuances of ETA and ETD, streamline operations, and deliver superior experiences. Ensure seamless customer experiences with eLogii.

What's your ETA? This is a familiar question used when anticipating a friend's arrival or a service professional's visit. Yet, the concept of the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) is more intricate than it appears, often leading to confusion.

Businesses and individuals rely on arrival and delivery estimates. They need these estimates for planning, scheduling, and more, but miscommunication is common.

In this article, we'll simplify frequently used logistics estimates. We'll also guide shippers in understanding their customers' needs. Plus, we'll show you how to provide precise order updates using eLogii effortlessly.

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Understanding ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

In logistics, ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) tells us when a vehicle, cargo ship, or other transportation will reach its destination. It helps customers know roughly when their goods will arrive. ETA is also handy for informing customers about a service professional's expected time. It can be something like an air conditioner repairman who should show up for a job.

What's the Difference between ETA vs ETD

When we talk about ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), we mean the expected time a vehicle or ship will reach its destination. On the other hand, ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) can have two meanings. It's either the estimated time a vehicle or vessel will leave or the estimated time your goods will be delivered.

  1. The estimated time of departure marks the initiation of the last-mile delivery journey. It signifies when a package is set to leave a storage facility.
  2. The estimated time of delivery denotes the conclusive point in the logistics supply chain. It represents the moment when a product is handed over to the consignee. It is crucial to distinguish delivery estimates from arrival estimates. For instance, even if a delivery truck reaches a high-rise office building by 1 pm, actual delivery to specific floors or businesses within the building may not occur until 1:30 pm.

If you've been confused because of the two meanings of "ETD," you're not the only one. That's why it's a good idea to use the full term "estimated time of departure" instead of just the acronym. That is especially true when talking to people from different companies.


Customers may also be interested in the ECT, or estimated completion time. ECT is pretty much the same as the estimated time of delivery, but it's commonly used in the service industry, not by delivery services.

For service and maintenance folks, like a pool maintenance person, an ECT is handy. Imagine they say they'll arrive at 2 pm, and the job will take two hours. So, the ECT for that job would be 4 pm.

Just a quick reminder: the estimated time of arrival (ETA) isn't always the actual time of arrival (ATD). Similarly, the estimated time of departure (ETD) isn't always the actual time of departure. These estimates can be wrong, so it's important to let customers know that the ETA or ETD isn't a guarantee that their stuff will arrive at that time.

Use eLogii for the Most Precise ETA, ETD, and ECT

Simplify logistics estimates and cut confusion related to ETA, ETD, and ECT by leveraging software. Discover how to use the live-tracking and planning capabilities in eLogii effortlessly. It will help to generate precise estimates for both your team and customers with minimal effort.

Determine the departure time through proactive planning

Planning means scheduling and organizing as early as you can, like days, weeks, or even a month beforehand. Dispatchers can use this early planning to decide when a new order will leave a warehouse. They can then let customers and internal teams know about it.


For a dispatcher, it's simple: upload orders from a document like Excel set driver constraints (which can be saved for later), and click "Plan routes." In just a few seconds, you'll get optimized routes and schedules. Now, you can inform customers precisely when their order will leave your warehouse. If needed, you can manually change routes anytime. Plan ahead for up to five weeks and adjust as much as you need when new orders pop up.

View real-time tracking for arrival times

Live tracking, also known as real-time tracking, is a tool that enables you to observe the current location of a delivery driver. This feature allows both you and your customers to track the driver's progress along their route.

Live GPS tracking removes the uncertainty from ETAs for dispatchers and fleet managers. Real-time visibility doesn't eliminate the chance of drivers facing issues like traffic or flat tires. Yet, it does guarantee instant awareness for dispatchers if something goes wrong. Live tracking assists dispatchers in quickly addressing inevitable delays. It also helps to maintain high on-time delivery rates.

The Operations/Planning tab in the eLogii app enables the dispatch and optimization of your tasks. It allows for both automatic and manual execution. This functionality is available for tasks scheduled for either today or any future date in advance

Once routes are optimized, you can automatically send scheduled notifications to your customers via email in eLogii. Also, once the pickup is complete, you can manually send the scheduled notifications.

Update customers on delivery times with real-time tracking notifications

Real-time tracking notifications from eLogii are customizable. You can change the content of notifications for each state update the customer will receive. You can also select the communication channel (SMS or email). You can customize these alerts for the Depot, Pickup, and Delivery contacts.

You also have the option to choose the specific types of notifications your customers will receive. For instance, if notifying customers about the driver arriving at the depot is unnecessary, you can simply disable the Task pickup arrived notification.

Studies indicate that a significant majority of consumers, around 88%, prefer real-time tracking. No one likes continuously seeing an "out for delivery" notification for hours when expecting an important delivery. Providing customers with the most precise estimate is crucial. Real-time tracking offers the highest level of accuracy.


Customize messages in eLogii and schedule them to be automatically sent to customers when a package or service professional is en route. Your customers will receive real-time updates on the expected arrival time based on current conditions, and any changes will be promptly visible to them.

Effortlessly keep tabs on the estimated completion time through live tracking

As we said earlier, the estimated completion time is just when a service job is supposed to finish. Companies that do field service and maintenance can easily keep an eye on these times using live tracking. As the screenshot shows, these updates are sent in real-time to the dashboard as the routes are carried out. The ETA is adjusted if there are delays like slow traffic.


You can choose any of the assigned drivers on the right side of the screen. It will zoom in on their route. You can then view their current location along with all their stops.

Any changes to the task's location will be displayed right away in the eLogii app on the screen. So, if one of your drivers gets stuck in traffic, the estimated time of arrival (ETA) will automatically be adjusted to reflect the delay. Quickly check out all the tasks completed after their planned time by clicking on the "Late Tasks" filter icon at the bottom of the Task List section. You'll see the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and the actual task completion time displayed right next to each other.

Moreover, eLogii simplifies customer communication, allowing dispatchers to concentrate on keeping their team punctual. You can configure real-time tracking updates for customers through your eLogii account. That helps dispatchers reduce the need to personally inform customers about delays in their service professional's arrival. Yet, for that personal touch, you can still go above and beyond and call them up if you think it is necessary.


Understanding ETA vs. ETD: Who Requires What, and Why?

Estimates for departure, arrival, delivery, and completion hold significance. Yet diverse individuals use this information for distinct purposes. Identifying which estimates are crucial for specific customers empowers you to customize communications to cater to their unique requirements.

Recreational customers

Regular customers just want to know when their package will arrive or when their service person will start. For repair companies, it's simple – your customer wants an ETA.

But for couriers and delivery teams, it's a bit trickier. Whether it's consumer goods or a hot pizza, customers technically want to know the delivery time, but they usually call it an ETA.

As we said, the estimated time of arrival (ETA) is when the delivery vehicle will reach the destination. In this case, it's fine to say ETA instead of the estimated time of delivery (ETD). That is because the time difference between a driver arriving and knocking on the door is just a few minutes or seconds. So, for regular customers, the ETA and ETD are pretty much the same. They just want to know when they'll get their purchase.

For casual buyers, it's crucial to provide precise estimates even before they make a purchase. Over half of shoppers admit they think about shipping choices while looking for products. If you promise two-day shipping, it's vital to fulfill that promise. Otherwise, you risk losing customers and receiving negative reviews. That, in turn, might harm your business.

Once an order is on its way from your warehouse, store, or restaurant, you can use eLogii to offer customers live updates. It ensures they know exactly when their package will reach them.

Commercial customers

Companies using courier and transportation services often want to know when their package will arrive (ETA) and when it's leaving (ETD). That is especially important for international or long-distance shipments. Businesses are aware that shipments might face delays in customs or due to weather. Therefore, they use departure times to determine where a package is when real-time tracking isn't an option.

Business customers handle many incoming and outgoing orders. Providing them with more information helps them plan warehouse space, schedule employees, and run their operations smoothly.

Let's say you have a service or repair business, like maintaining HVAC systems for office buildings. Customers will want to know when you'll arrive (ETA) and may also inquire about how long the entire service will take (ECT). Depending on their workplace, they might need to arrange for an employee to guide you through the building. It's good practice to provide commercial clients with an estimate of how long the job will take and when you'll begin the service.


Dispatchers need live updates, not just estimates. They are the primary contact for field drivers and service professionals. If someone faces an issue or delays during a delivery, it's the dispatcher's responsibility to adjust the plans. Dispatchers can't effectively do their job if they don't have real-time visibility of their entire team in the field. That is why eLogii is a valuable tool for logistics companies. It provides clear insights for dispatchers in dynamic situations.

Dispatchers not only require precise location tracking for their tasks but may also need the ETAs, ETDs, and ECTs shared with customers. Some dispatchers have a role in informing customers about ETA changes. Thus, they must be aware of the information communicated to each customer.

Enhance Customer Experience with eLogii for Superior Deliveries

Unlock the power of knowledge in logistics by leveraging eLogii. Stay informed about your drivers and packages with live tracking, advanced analytics, and driver insights to ensure a top-notch customer experience.


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