Any freight forwarder who depends on automation (and not manual processes) is technically a digital freight forwarder. In 2021, we kicked off the “UN Decade of Ocean.” Since digitalization of the ocean is a key objective of this UN-initiated program, let’s explore the benefits of digitalization.
How Freight Forwarders “Digitalize” Their Operations to Boost Efficiency
Key players in the global supply chain have always looked towards digitalization to boost the efficiency of their operations. Freight forwarders are one of the key players in the global supply chain. They oversee administrative tasks such as –
- Dealing with customs clearance procedures.
- Tracking the cargo at multiple points throughout its journey.
- Creating and filing necessary documentation to port authorities.
- Organizing the pick-up of their shipments.
- Tracking their shipments to provide timely updates about shipment status to clients.
- Booking space on shipping companies’ vessels.
Digital freight forwarders use software tools to optimize these tasks. Either they develop their own platforms, or they use third-party tools to digitalize their operations. Here’s how the freight forwarders who have undergone “digitalization” operate –
They Can Offer Instant Quotations
Digital freight forwarders use integrated booking and quotation software tools. Via these tools, they can provide online quotes to customers. Maintaining transparency is much easier when you’re using such digital tools. Digital freight forwarders offer instant freight booking services to their clients.
Hassle-Free Documentation Management
Digital freight forwarders don’t have to store or review paperwork manually. All work-related documents are stored within the secure cloud systems of their freight forwarding software tools. With these tools, freight forwarders can –
- Easily share documents (e.g., the bill of lading) with third parties (e.g., port authorities).
- Send information to customers (e.g., a list outlining the customer’s packaging duties).
- Access all the important documents from one secure place.
- Avoid sending emails to fellow professionals, customers, etc.
- Automated invoicing.
When it comes to documentation management, a freight forwarder with digital tools will always outperform those who operate manually.
Real-Time Shipment Tracking
The best freight forwarders use automated tracking tools that update them about their cargo’s locational data. These systems are designed to send tracking notifications. Hence, digital freight forwarders always know where their cargo is located. They can communicate these details to customers awaiting their shipments.
More importantly, freight forwarders can perform enhanced forecasting with the real-time data they receive from their tracking tools. They can use data analytics to anticipate market prices, predict delivery issues, and make timely contingency plans.
How Can Traditional Freight Forwarders Access these Advanced Tools?
It’s clear that technology can make freight forwarding operations much more efficient and cost-effective. However, many freight forwarders choose to avoid these tools because of the immense up-front costs involved. That’s why joining digitally advanced freight forwarder alliances make more sense. Freight alliances are groups of professional freight forwarders.
They work together to serve their individual commercial needs. Membership comes with access to the latest shipment tracking and management tools. Can’t afford expensive freight forwarder software tools? Pay a membership fee to join a top-quality freight alliance. Use the group’s tools to advance your commercial interests!