Forwarders and shippers which are reluctant to embrace digital supply chain solutions risk losing money and customers.
CEO of book-cargo.com believes many air, ocean and road transport providers are needlessly fearful of online marketplaces designed to enhance their businesses, not disrupt them.
Forwarders and shippers unwilling to implement digital solutions will increasingly be left behind by rivals able to generate cost savings and service improvements through new technologies, according to Alex Ruf, a 25-year logistics veteran and CEO of logistics marketplace book-cargo.com, one of the world’s largest freight rate search platforms.
“It’s not about choosing whether or not to adopt new technology and working practices,” he said. “It is about when you do so – change is inevitable.”
Mr Ruf insisted all supply chain stakeholders – whether procuring or providing air, land or ocean forwarding services – could now reduce costs and improve supply chain transparency by deploying new technological solutions.
“And, of course, customers also want lower quotes and improved transparency so it’s win-win,” he added.
“Whether now or in the near future, failing to embrace digitisation and the automation of supply chains and freight bookings will have an impact on profits and customer relations.”
Mr Ruf also claimed it was wrong to frame the discussion about new technologies entering the logistics space as a battle between incumbents and disruptors.
“New technology does not have to be negatively disruptive to the traditional ways that forwarders and shippers conduct business,” he said. “Certainly, book-cargo.com is designed to enhance the businesses of our users, not detract from them. The feedback we get from forwarders and shippers is very positive.”
book-cargo.com was soft launched in October last year and already has some 6,000 registered shipper and forwarder users making it one of the world’s largest freight rate search marketplaces. The system provides a fast and easy way to request and compare freight rates for global FCL, LCL, Air and Road shipments online, with comparisons possible based on price and transit time.
book-cargo.com offers easy-to-use tariff management and rate upload functions as well as analytical tools which enable strategic planning across variables including reply times, hit ratios and most requested lanes. Online bookings can be made by forwarders, shippers or agents with just a few clicks.
“book-cargo.com brings the freight forwarding and logistics industry into the digital age,” said Mr Ruf. “It’s already one of the world’s largest freight rate searching platforms and we are attracting more users every week.
“Forwarders like it because they can upload their rates. Counter-parties like it because they can get an immediate response.
“As well as shippers using it to procure rate and routing options by all modes, freight forwarders are also reaching out to other forwarders. And book-cargo.com also helps forwarders who do not have partners or agents in specific countries to find them.”
Using book-cargo.com, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connections can be established to share booking details and/or shipping instructions with other users. Chat functionality has been built in to allow information and communication at the request/shipment stage. Once a booking is made, book-cargo.com provides a tailored control tower to ensure end-to-end supply chain visibility.
“An information revolution is taking place and companies are demanding greater visibility, more sophisticated analytics and the ability to make better and faster decisions,” said Mr Ruf. “book-cargo.com facilitates this. It is open 24/7. It enables searches, comparisons and bookings to be made in just a few clicks by forwarders and shippers. And it vastly reduces the time and resources required to effectively manage supply chains for both buyers and sellers of air, ocean and land freight services.”