More air and sea carriers take the digital plunge to offer online freight booking

The transport industry – particularly air and sea – has taken one step further towards online pricing, and a subsequently improved relationship with forwarders, according to carriers.

Cargosphere has launched eSUDS Connector, a universal rate structure and API (application programming interface) for ocean carriers to offer digital rate distribution to customers.

The connector enables shipping lines to transfer confidential customer contracts, amendments and global surcharge tariffs to the CargoSphere network using a common data format. This is made available to forwarders and shippers in real-time.

Cargosphere said the move eliminates “the volumes of manual work of rate management that create massive constraints in pricing operations. A new level of productivity, accuracy, and rate access will be achieved as rate data flows seamlessly in real-time.”

Hamburg Süd is already using the connector, and others are expected to follow suit.

“We have been working for nearly 20 years to systematise ocean rate management and distribution to break this tedious, time-consuming and unproductive paradigm,” said Neil Barni, managing director.

“With the acceleration of digitalisation, the ocean carrier community is ready to adopt smart innovations where they make sense…we expect rapid adoption in the container shipping industry,” he added.

Airlines too are making progress. Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) has become the first Asian carrier to join cargo.one’s booking platform.

“We are very interested in the concept of e-bookings and believe it to be a highly efficient distribution channel,” said Satoshi Shimura, head of business digitalisation at NCA.

“What I see as an outstanding advantage is the easy booking process around the clock: forwarders can not only request quotes within seconds and receive real-time prices, but also book capacity with instant confirmation, 24/7.

“I expect the partnership to have a very positive impact on our relationship with freight forwarders: the additional distribution channel empowers us to serve a breadth of freight forwarders, which allows us to build new ties and intensify our relationships especially with SME forwarders.

“Secondly, we will be able to reach our customers where they want to be. As they are already used to digital processes in other industries, more freight forwarders have already discovered and are starting to expect the convenience of booking digitally.”

cargo.one has now developed its one.connect platform, a result of previous airline integrations aggregated into a single standardised technology layer that will simplify further integrations, it said.