Freight Forwarding

Strategies for Managing Freight Forwarding Through Disruption

Despite the term “supply chain” relaying the notion that it is an industry with connected parts, today the supply chain is more regularly disrupted than ever. Whether it be clogged ports, underemployed docks, or the growing traffic in cargo heavy lanes, there is a lot of room for disruption during a freight shipment. 

The massive growth of e-commerce has also added to the complexities of the supply chain. “​​Over the last seven years, digital buyers worldwide increased from 1.32 billion in 2014 to 2.14 billion this year,” Forbes reported in December 2021. It is more vital than ever for forwarders and shippers to incorporate freight forwarding strategies to optimize their workflow. Below are five ways to do just that.

1. Integrate All Systems

Although the boom in online sales saves time for the consumer, there are many new intricate requirements for those now handling e-commerce freight forwarding. Because the storage and shipping of items are no longer as centralized and fixed as it was in years past, freight forwarders thrive when they work with a software system that can sync all of the moving components of their job. Systems that include an integrated freight communication platform give freight forwarders the power to stay competitive with prompt quotes and streamlined documents. 

2. Eliminate Confusion With Real-Time Status Updates

Adopting automation for real-time updates is another component of successful freight forwarding strategies. As larger corporations utilize automation to provide accurate visibility for their workflow, many are passing that visibility onto their customers. Current shipment status has become a staple in the boom of e-commerce, and a freight forwarding service that shippers expect. When shippers and receiving customers are given the tools they need to know what to expect and when it eliminates both tedious tasks and the opportunity for confusion on order status. 

3. Instantly Quote, Book and Review Shipments

The ability to instantly make important decisions on shipments is vital to the shipper who utilizes digital freight forwarding, as for the freight forwarder. Because e-commerce freight forwarding sometimes deals with the returns of items as well, forwarders must be aware of their available capacity at all times. By leveraging logistics of current shipping rates and trends, freight forwarders can be better prepared for instant quotes that are fair to the shipper and profitable to themselves.

4. Measure Carrier Performance

One of the most important freight forwarding strategies is to have a method to track the production of current business dealings including the performance of carriers. While freight brokers may be the ones known for searching how to find carriers, forwarders must search for quality ones as well. Despite freight forwarders being the strings that move a freight shipment from origin to storage to destination, carriers are the physical touchpoint of customer service. Therefore having a system to measure carrier performance matters immensely to the freight forwarder.

5. Track Exceptions and Handle Them With Automated Rulesets

Freight forwarders can improve resiliency through disruptions with an exception management plan. Exception management speaks to addressing unusual requests or issues that occur in supply chain management. By automating rulesets on a freight forwarding platform, the system can both track and address common supply chain interruptions such as weather, traffic, requests for additional documentation from customs, etcetera. By incorporating a platform that addresses common exceptions, office personnel can focus on current and future business relationships until there is a truly unusual exception that needs human reasoning to address.

Create More Value in Your Network With the Right Freight Forwarding Strategies

As e-commerce freight forwarding continues to reshape the workflow of those in the field, it is important to utilize the right freight forwarding strategies. Some strategies to minimize disruption involve integrating systems, incorporating visibility for real-time shipment updates, and having the tools necessary for instant decisions on shipments. Being sure to track the performance of carriers provides a tangible guide to future partnering while automating the process of tracking exceptions can free up personnel

Why Visibility Is Crucial to Freight Forwarding Efficiency

Within the modern supply chain network, few things encompass the forward progress and shifting focus that has been seen like freight forwarding visibility demands. The need for clear-cut data and information, both inside and outside the supply chain itself, has never been greater. Continued growth and success in the years ahead depending on proper visibility and transparency within the supply chain network. Understanding why visibility in freight forwarding is so critical continues to be a vital part of the forwarding puzzle that far too few management and logiest teams give proper attention to.

The Challenges of Limited Visibility in Global Trade

Freight forwarding visibility is critical for smooth operations within the modern supply chain network. In a day and age influenced more and more by e-commerce, global marketing, and digital shipping trends, it is easy to see where limited visibility presents the greatest challenges.

  • Disruptions- Without strong visibility within the supply chain network, disruptions caused by weather, traffic delays, driver issues, and other factors become much more devastating and impactful.
  • Mistakes- Human errors from drivers, managers, customers, carriers, and other team members can end up being much more impactful when they are not identified and addressed quickly enough.
  • Bad Data- Inaccurate and out-of-date data can open forwarders to a host of issues involving decision-making and internal processes that can have a ripple effect throughout the entire supply chain.
  • Communications- Whether between team members, management, drivers, or customers, poor communications and ineffective methods of communication can slow down critical processes.
  • Lack of Integration- Poorly integrated platforms, misuse of modern tools and technology, along with a lack of collaboration between team members and third parties can negatively impact forwards across the board. 

Continued growth and success in the freight forwarding market today are dependent on overcoming these and other common issues surrounding limited visibility within freight forwarding networks. 

Increased Visibility Makes Planning and Execution Easier

With proper data and insight available on-demand, critical planning and execution processes end up being much more streamlined. For team members and customers alike, increased visibility within freight forwarding trends and processes makes forwarding processes easier and more effective. According to Shipping and Freight Resource, “Customers today require authentic and visual data to see how their products are moving, identify bottlenecks in their supply chain, and correct for where avoidable costs like demurrage, detention, and storage are being incurred.” Visibility in freight forwarding allows for better communication between team members, managers, and customers alike, thus making it easier to plan and complete the smallest as well as the most critical of forwarding tasks. Knowing what to prepare for in the years ahead is critical for understanding the freight forwarding market today.

Best Practices to Increasing Visibility for Freight Forwarders

 Freight forwarding visibility within the supply chain today relies on several key practices that need to be a part of every forwarder’s plan for the years ahead.

  • Embrace technology and integrate digital tools and processes into daily forwarding practices and routines.
  • Maintain open lines of communication with team members, customers, vendors, 3PLs, and management.
  • Collect and analyze data in real-time for accurate application and forwarding decisions and predictive planning.
  • Track and monitor freight forwarding and logistic trends and plan for disruptions that are likely to occur.
  • Improve the overall freight forwarding services for shippers and other third-party partners and 3PLS.
  • Utilize real-time tracking and monitoring of cargo shipments and allow for on-demand data access.
  • Provide exceptional customer service with real-time updates and innovative customer support options.
  • Improve disruption planning and predictive power to provide more accurate and reliable responses.

Boost Throughput With the Right Forwarding Platform

Improve the throughput and boost freight forwarding productivity today with a forwarding platform and tech stack. Visibility in freight forwarding continues to influence every aspect of forwarding services as well as domestic and global transportation services. Within the modern supply chain network, freight forwarding visibility demands remain a critical aspect of management and logistical planning. The need for a clear vision of past, current, and future forwarding trends, has never been greater. Contact Cargologik today to learn more.

The State of Freight Forwarding Tech in 2022

Of all the advancements that have been made in forwarding and logistics, freight forwarding tech and tools have changed the transportation market. As noted by Logistics Management, “Agility and the ability to adapt to difficult circumstances remains the No. 1 attribute for freight forwarders—but the pandemic put them to the test. Today, the leading forwarders are investing in technology that not only increases efficiency but also enhances operations and creates new global solutions.” As 2022 begins, freight forwarding tech utilization and integration will be a key part of the freight forwarding industry for years to come. Knowing what the coming year is expected to hold can help forwarders better plan and prepare how they will utilize the technology available to them. Freight forwarders must be prepared for changes to the freight market in 2022.

Air and Ocean Container Shortages Continue      

The leading disruption to the global supply chain continues to be the backlog of containers sitting waiting to be unloaded or picked up at ports across the country. As cargo containers remain in short supply, shipping fees and expenses are expected to remain high. This will also likely cause difficulties with maintaining good capacity access.

E-Commerce Popularity Is Still Pushing Demand Higher

Freight forwarding tech continues to support her growing popularity and demand for e-commerce options. As online ordering and virtual shopping remain key services consumers want, forwarders will need to remain up to date with the latest technology and tools. Fulfilling customer expectations is critical for successful online shopping.

Forecasting Via Analytics

Technology can also be used within the freight forwarding industry to help improve predictive planning and forecasting. Having access to real-time data and accurate historical data can improve logistical execution and planning procedures. This will improve decision-making and disruption response for freight forwarding services

Complete Transparency Builds Resiliency

Having advanced technology within the forwarding network makes it easier to maintain good resiliency and operational transparency. Optimized and up-to-date freight forwarding tech can make a big difference in overall resiliency and adaptability for forwarders. It is just one more reason technology integration is necessary. 

SaaS-Based Platforms Make E-Commerce Management Easier

Integrated and innovative TMS and technology make it much easier for freight forwarders to manage systems and take advantage of growing market demands. E-commerce management requires special care and attention and a SaaS-Based and technologically-backed TMS platform can improve the customer experience overall. 

Integrated Warehouse Management Will Hasten Innovation

Freight forwarding tech can also go a long way in improving warehouse operations and inventory management practices. The forwarders who can offer the most innovative services and benefits to customers are the most likely to see continued growth and success in the year to come. Freight tech makes the entire process more streamlined.

Real-Time Quoting and Booking Will Boost Efficiency Too

One of the biggest areas of time and money inefficiencies among freight forwarders today is in the booking and capacity acquisition process. Technology today aims to improve quoting rates and speed up booking processes to keep capacity levels high. The faster loads can be moved, the more profits forwarders stand to make.

Put the Right Freight Forwarding Tech to Work in Your Enterprise

Today, many freight forwarders are looking for ways to improve services, streamline internal processes, reduce expenses, and boost customer relations. As 2022 begins, freight forwarding tech utilization and integration continue to highlight the importance of keeping up to date with the latest trends and advancements within the industry. The freight forwarding industry has been changed forever by years of economic and social change and these shifts are like to remain for years to come. Knowing what the future might hold in terms of e-commerce supply chain shifts and changing consumer demands can help forwarders better plan and prepare. Taking advantage of the technology available to them today is the best move freight forwarders can make for the year ahead. Contact Cargologik today to learn more.

The Role of Integrated, Digital Document Management in Freight Forwarding

Integrated document management systems serve an integral role within the modern supply chain network and can help make freight forwarding easier concerning recordkeeping and digital process management. As the world continues to become more and more digital, so too must the processes that are utilized by management. As highlighted by Supply Chain Digital, “Supply chain digitization is already showing significant impact for those willing to invest. According to a recent KPMG survey, the investment in intelligent automation will reach $232bn in 2025, compared to $12.4bn today.” The reasons for this increase in digital document management focus are largely due to the growing realization that digitization can enhance the customer experience, improve network efficiencies, streamline manual processes, and help onboard new operating or business models. Integrated document management in freight forwarding is critical for ongoing growth and success, particularly in today’s volatile market.

Challenges of Traditional Document Management

What once worked perfectly well for recordkeeping and document management has been revealed to be ineffective, cumbersome, and challenging for supply chain management and team members alike. Some of the challenges seen with traditional document management that digital document management systems can help alleviate include the following:

  • Easily lost papers that are difficult to file, track, and access
  • Large stacks of papers to search through for special records
  • Cumbersome papers that have to physically be shared and copied
  • Easier to lose and damage important papers during transit
  • Difficult to coordinate and collaborate over physical papers
  • Long hold times waiting for papers or feedback on work
  • A buildup of ineffective processes that slow things down
  • Slower response to market changes such as e-commerce shipping

Integrating document management processes with digital tools and platforms can help reduce and even eliminate many of these issues that traditional document processes allow.

Integrated Digital Document Management Systems in Freight Forwarding Reduces Risk

Another benefit of digital documents management systems is they help shippers, carriers, brokers, and forwarders all reduce and avoid excessive risks within their day-to-day operations. Keeping up with current freight market trends is an important part of reducing and managing risks. Everything from data access to security measures can be improved with a digital processing and management system in place. 

Having faster, more reliable, and more secure access to on-demand data with digital paper trails and document management, the opportunities for losses, expenses, and disruptions fall greatly. And with lower risk levels comes greater freedom to expand and reach into new niche markets and take on additional capacity types without opening the network up to undue risks.

Additional Benefits of Integrated Digital Document Management

Embracing digital and integrated document management in freight forwarding can also bring other benefits that can be enjoyed by freight forwarding business management and team members alike:

  • Faster response time to inquiries
  • Better resolutions to customer concerns
  • More reliable solutions to disruptions
  • Improved collaborations with third-parties
  • All-encompassing communications
  • On-demand data analysis and access
  • Superior predictive planning results
  • Speedier growth and onboarding procedures
  • Streamline enhancements network-wide
  • Many more

Put the Power of Digital Freight Forwarding Document Management to Work by Choosing Cargologik.

Embracing a fully digital and integrated document management system can do wonders for overall management and coordination within the supply chain network as it helps highlight what forwarders need to know. Virtually every process and task becomes easier when data and records are available with a few clicks of a button rather than the lengthy process of tracking down and attaining physical paperwork copies. 

Having the best digital document management system can help improve freight forwarding and supply chain managers by enabling better collaborations and by strengthening partnerships with shippers, carriers, brokers, and even customers. Contact Cargologik today to see a demo for yourself and discover the difference document management in freight forwarding can make.

Challenges in Global Forwarding and How an Integrated Platform Solves Them

In the light of global upheaval and unprecedented pressures on the supply chain, the challenges in global forwarding have become all the more focused and scrutinized over the past year. Freight forwarding businesses of all sizes have felt the impact and have had to scramble to adapt and adjust to the current state of the global forwarding industry. Even as recovery continues and things return to a new sense of normalcy, there’s no doubt that the pandemic has left a permanent mark on global supply chains and the freight forwarding marketplace. With 2021 coming to a close and 2022 looming ever larger, there are many challenges still anticipated, which is why more and more freight forwarders are turning towards integrated forwarding platforms as a solution.

Challenge: The Pandemic Continues to Create Uncertainty 

If there was any event in 2021 that summarized the level of uncertainty the supply chain is currently facing with global logistics challenges, it was the Suez Canal blockage incident, but the backlogs at major ports have become synonymous with imports in the run up to peak season. Period. 

Many of the beginning challenges in global forwarding, which many expected to subside after the initial impact of the pandemic, have only grown and become more obvious, impactful, and problematic. A lack of warehousing availability, capacity crunches, driver and shipper shortages, sky-rocketing container rates, higher rates and fees, spiraling expenses and costs,  bottlenecks in ocean, air, and truckload fright, unprecedented port congestion, and increasing consumer demands are the symptoms of uncertainty unlike anything seen recently.

Solution: Integrated Tech Uses Analytics to Forecast Demand

For many forwarders, the answer to these growing obstacles and challenges comes from embracing innovative tools and setting up integrated forwarding platforms. As dwell times at terminals account for more than a 60% increase in transit times for ocean imports from China, it becomes obvious that predictive planning and forecasting are needed within the freight forwarding network. According to FreightWaves data tracking reports, the average transit time for containers traveling by sea is 45 days, compared to 28 days earlier in the year. Port-to-port transit times are averaging 32 days, twice as long as normal. The way to overcome these issues is to embrace integrated technology, employ data collection and analytical platforms, and focus on predictive analytics as much as possible. 

Challenge: Ports Are Looking at More Demurrage Fees

As ports fill up with cargo containers that sit waiting to be unloaded and returned for future orders, congestion is getting to the point that serious integration is needed to prevent even worse bottlenecks. Fees can range depending on the port, the client, the number of containers involved, and other factors. But it is easy to see how this can quickly add up for forwarders and carriers. A single shipment of five cargo containers, charged $50 per day, for five days of dwell time can cost over $1,200 in additional fees. The hope is these fees will get containers unloaded and moved out of ports faster to clear up the tightening bottleneck within the supply chain. But forwarders need to work to avoid these delays in the first place.

Solution: Integrated Systems Provide Insight into Total Costs and Fees

Overcoming the many challenges in global forwarding today often comes back to improving platforms and operating systems to be more streamline and modernized for the digital world. Getting up to date data and information about shopping rates, fees, port delays, backlogs, custom protocols, and the like can make it easier to manage digital freight forwarding services throughout the supply chain. Many ports have announced intentions to begin issuing additional fees for containers that sit for too long after arrival at the port in an effort to clear space and reduce cargo delays. 

Implementing an integrated forwarding platform and database can also help managers better track rates and fees and keep track of trends and shifting market demands. Tracking total expenses, fees, surcharges, and rates can help managers overcome this critical challenge facing the global forwarding market today.

Challenge: Planning for Rolled Cargo is More Difficult Than Ever.

Forbes pointed out in a recent report that the Freightos Baltic Index, which measures global container prices, currently listed more than $10,300 as the average cost per 40-foot container rental. A year ago, a cargo container of the same size cost exporters just over $2,000 to ship. Adding to this growing expense is the added pressure that comes from rolled cargo and shipping delays. 

The challenges in global forwarding now also include balancing the costs involved with paying for capacity and space for shipments that may or may not reach final ports on time and that may sit for weeks or months after arrival due to backlogs. All of this makes dealing with rolled cargo and related expenses all the more difficult for traditional and e-commerce supply chains.

Solution: Integration Increases Visibility of Planned Versus In-Transit Moves

Overcoming the various global forwarding challenges that plague the supply chain today comes down to finding innovative options and integrating platforms, tools, and services that are focused on improving visibility and adaptability. An integrated forwarding platform helps management better track planned routes and shipments while also monitoring and tracking changes made on the fly to accommodate disruptions and issues within the supply chain. Proper planning and predictive insight are vital to supply chain success but equally important are the ability to adapt and scale services as needed on the go. An integrated and digital forwarding dashboard or collaboration platform makes it easier to manage everything and keep tabs on freight forwarding visibility. 

Challenge: Payment Processing is Still Challenging

One of the most obvious impacts felt on forwarding services during these times of change and adaptation is the impact it has had on every facet, from finding containers to loading them to delivering them. According to Rodrigo Gutierrez, CEO of GTM Holdings, “the availability and cost of containers have been a significant issue. To illustrate how challenging this situation has become, there were times where we had to pay US$12,000 to rent a container, making the container cost more than the product being delivered.” With this kind of money being spent right off the bat to simply get cargo moved from one port to another, the need for fast and reliable payment processing services is more vital than ever before. 

Solution: Integrated Platforms Help Track Payments More Accurately

The need for secure, data-backed payment processes and reliable payment tracking and support will help offset some of the strain higher up-front costs can have on freight forwarding companies. With payment processing and challenges in global forwarding mounting on a near-weekly basis, an integrated forwarding platform can help streamline all critical processes so management can track payments, shipments, and status reports in a more effective and collaborative manner. 

Automated delivery notifications, freight shipping monitoring, invoice payment notices, and real-time tracking of payment status can save time and money in the long run by cutting out needless delays, runarounds, and errors during payments. The ability to track and monitor payments more accurately and respond to questions or problems in real-time is easier with an integrated collaborative platform specifically designed for freight forwarding needs.

Challenge: E-commerce is Still Expanding and Stabilizing.

Most people would not be overly shocked that trends over the last two years have shown foot traffic in traditional brick and mortar stores have been much lower than in the past, even for big sale holidays like Black Friday. As highlighted by TechCrunch, while new COVID variants and continued supply chain disruptions keep brick and mortar shops inconveniently inaccessible for many people, the trend of e-commerce shopping is also continuing to change and adapt. 

There will continue to be highs and lows in e-commerce and digital shopping as the slow process of recovery stretches on into 2022 and beyond. While e-commerce shippers and related services are still expanding and settling into a more normal trend, it will still likely be a dominating force within national and international supply chains and is something freight forwarders must be mindful of and plan for.

Solution: SaaS-Based Platforms are Scalable and Adaptable.

The fastest, easiest, and surest way to remain adaptable and to prepare for the inevitable changes within the supply chain and e-commerce shipping is to implement integrated forwarding platforms that are designed to make freight forwarding more streamlined and efficient.  SaaS-based platforms, collaborative dashboards, and cloud-based data access portals make everything more adaptable and scalable. 

In a market where a single day can make the difference in delivery deadlines, optimal monitoring and management of e-commerce transportation and freight forwarding remain critical for forwarders who want to maintain the competitive advantage. Implementing and embracing a freight forwarding software system and tech stack can go a long way in making any freight forwarder more successful in uncertain markets.

Create New Value With the Right Integrated Forwarding Platform for Global Forwarding

With the continued stress and strain being put on the global supply chain, the seemingly endless pressures from consumers and market leaders, and the ongoing upheaval and unprecedented pressures on forwarders, the supply chain network is in desperate need of support. All of the challenges in global forwarding have become more impactful and far-reaching over the past few years as local and global markets alike continue to deal with unprecedented changes. Shutdowns, shipping constraints, supply chain bottlenecks, inventory and warehouse issues, driver and worker shortages, e-commerce crazes, and transportation disruptions continue to impact the entire supply chain network. Even as recovery continues and things return to a new sense of normalcy, few would argue that the pandemic has left a permanent mark on global supply chains and the freight forwarding marketplace. As freight forwarders continue to search for a solution to these growing global forwarding issues, finding the right integrated forwarding platform is more apparent than ever. Contact Cargologik today to learn more and to see what an innovative and integrated platform can do to help address current challenges in global forwarding.

The State of E-Commerce Freight Forwarding

A few short years ago, retail e-commerce sales worldwide had an estimated value of more than 3.5 trillion US dollars. The growth anticipated for e-commerce revenues was more than expected and e-commerce revenue has grown significantly across almost all sectors and in virtually every market. There is no doubt that e-commerce is impacting freight forwarding

Online shopping and e-commerce freight forwarding still constitute some of the most popular online activities worldwide. Domestic sales are increasing and global e-sales have never been higher as countries such as China, India, and Indonesia among many others are seeing an increase in import and export rates because of that increase.  

According to BusinessWire, “The global B2C e-commerce market exhibited strong growth during 2015-2020. Looking forward, the publisher expects the market to grow at a CAGR of around 9% during 2021-2026.” Considering some current analysis calculates that at least one in every six dollars spent by consumers in the US is spent online with e-commerce purchases, it becomes obvious why freight forwarding services are so vital within the digital shipping and transportation industry.

E-Commerce Expansion and Its Relationship to Freight Forwarding

Several factors are contributing to and escalating the demand for quality products and services through online portals, websites, apps, and retailers. This represents one of the main factors positively influencing the market as the increased need for e-commerce freight forwarding services helps prop up otherwise recovering economies and niche markets. While the need for business attire for example may have dropped due to more employees working from home, the need for other types of clothing and the increased interest in fast and simple fashion has helped offset that blow to the clothing and fashion market somewhat. To stay competitive, it is essential to have a good understanding of the trends within the industry, to keep up with current trends and demands, and watch the supply chain closely for potential disruptions.

Top Trends Driving E-Commerce Expansion

E-commerce freight forwarding expansion has largely been spurred by many factors, especially within the last few years. Some of the top trends impacting the digital market and e-commerce supply chain include:

  • Reaction to the pandemic and the related disruptions it caused across multiple markets.
  • Customer pent-up demand stemming from supply shortages and lockdowns.
  • Ongoing peak season demand ahead of the major end-of-the-year holidays.
  • Changing global trade policies in other countries impacts global supply and demand.
  • New equipment in construction is being designed and built-in response to supply issues.
  • Ability to get anything on-demand, at home, or on the go, and have it delivered. 
  • Same-day service and fast and affordable three-day-or-less options are widely available.
  • Sustainability goals, green initiatives, and consumer interest in corporate values.
  • Shifts in interests and values among consumers move to a more personal view.
  • Safety concerns and the ability to remotely engage in things done face-to-face before.
  • Time and money-saving opportunities are becoming of increasing importance.
  • Smarter tech stacks, software, apps, websites, and options becoming user-friendly.
  • Continued focus on meeting consumers where they are to address needs and concerns.

In light of the current state of recovery the domestic and global markets are experiencing, it is little wonder the need for e-commerce freight forwarding is stronger than ever.

New Technology Makes E-Commerce Freight Forwarding Easier

Like much of business and personal life today, technology has a tremendous impact on freight forwarding services, especially in light of the e-commerce trends. The innovative and collaborative technology of e-commerce freight forwarding makes it easier to manage complex supply chains and forwarding lines by providing the following:

  • Centralized logistics timelines are easily viewed and updated.
  • Shipment updates and alerts are sent automatically to all parties.
  • Data-driven decision-making for better response to disruptions. 
  • Online shipment management and logistical planning. 
  • Optimized execution of routine processes within the network.
  • Digital document management and recording systems.
  • Communications storage and collaborative platforms.
  • Easier onboarding of freight forwarding system software and tools.
  • Instant customer service for an optimized customer experience.

Ensure Your Operation Is Future-Ready for E-Commerce and Forwarding Needs With Cargologik

When dealing with current market trends, customer experience considerations remain key. E-commerce throughout multiple markets and supply chains continues growing at a rapid rate, leading to increased pressure and demand for better e-commerce logistics, and the renewed attention to service and price competition among market leaders. Most corporates are searching for ways to transform their business models to adapt to current supply chain bottlenecks, supply deficiencies, capacity issues, driver shortages, and other economic and market shortcomings. Contact Cargologik today to learn more about capitalizing on e-commerce freight forwarding opportunities.

What Forwarders Need to Know About the Freight Market in 2022

Leading up to 2022, freight forwarders must stay vigilant of the various freight and shipping concerns carrying over from the current year. There continues to be a strain on the market with consumer demand, limited production, and difficulty with driver availability. The need for a reliable freight forwarding system only continues to grow. 

Due to these persistent issues, freight forwarders must find a solution to gain visibility and combat the volatile markets. According to S&P Global, “Higher freight rates had contributed to DHL’s strong financial performance for the quarter, with EBIT for the company’s freight forwarding division more than doubled to EUR 372 million ($430 million).” Similar above-average profit trends have been seen for other major forwarders, and it all amounts to an increased strain on forwarders going into 2022. As companies experience issues and face disruptions throughout the market, they should expect to see such issues carry into the new year. However, an answer to the issues stemming from the pandemic and following peak season pressures can be found. 

What’s Causing Turbulence in the Freight Forwarding Market?

As the freight market continues to face difficult obstacles and such challenges are expected to remain well into the new year.  Freight forwarding businesses must prepare to ensure they have the proper efficiencies and protocols needed for the ongoing issues that affect the freight forwarding market.  

Increased Peak Season Activity

Shippers and forwarders should get used to seeing more activity during this year’s peak season and the years to follow. More and more people have been spending their time shopping online and relying on delivery methods during the holiday season. Especially due to the pandemic, the market has seen an increase in online shopping compared to a decrease in physical stores. This can cause issues for companies that have not properly prepared for this spike and the freight forwarding market must also plan for more tension on the already strained network. 

A Longer-Than-Usual Peak Season

As demonstrated throughout the supply chain and freight industry, the peak season surge has been longer and more exhausting than in years past. Companies have continued to face issues with capacity, driver availability,  and freight increasing freight rates. For many throughout the industry, peak season has been a constant state as tight capacity, spot market pricing increases, decreases in service levels, and issues with transportation modes continue to plague the industry. Regarding expected trends for freight in 2022, the industry has an opportunity to rebalance the market with the help of finding more drivers and capacity.  

Limited Capacity Due to Continued Driver Shortage.

Driver capacity still remains an issue as many companies throughout the industry lack the number of drivers needed for such a busy season. The driver shortage has existed for some time now and is especially disruptive during the end of the year, as this can cause increased issues with delivery and capacity. Without enough drivers, some companies will have to combine smallerd shipments to leverage available capacity. This can slow down the delivery process and cause issues for the industry as peak season.

Uncertainty Regarding Economic Policies

While shippers, carriers, forwarders, and brokers all struggle with the backlash of the pandemic and the continuing stress of peak season, financial pressures loom large. Current economic policies and standings on a local and national level are not guaranteed to be positive. Companies should expect to see continued product shortages and price surges into 2022 and even beyond. This is due to no immediate and all-encompassing solution being identified as of yet for the underlying supply-demand imbalance within the e-commerce supply chain..

Uncertainty Over Spread of Potential COVID Variants.

With freight forwarding companies and service providers continuing to face the difficulties of the pandemic, the risk of new COVID variants remains. . Despite the vaccine providing some certainty for the public, there continues to be the risk of new variants being found and causing issues. New variants can and will likely affect freight in 2022 and cause continued issues with the market from goods shortages, lack of drivers, and more. The rise of new variants also increases the chances of another worldwide lockdown, which can cause a whole new ripple effect to take hold of the supply chain network even more so than the first time. 

Increased E-commerce Activity in Tandem With Increased Brick-And-Mortar Activity

Due to the pandemic and ongoing difficulties with masking regulations, capacity constraints, and vaccination concerns, many businesses have had to limit customers in the building or some have faced permanent shut down. E-commerce shipper activity has continued to increase and become the new normal for shopping. This trend is expected to continue for the freight forwarding market in 2022 and well beyond.

Global Container Shortages

From the pandemic and the continuing issues with new variants and quarantine, drastic inflation in shipping and container prices, and increased delay times will also make things more difficult to manage. When the pandemic began, some forwarders reduced   how many cargo ships that were being sent out. This move further hindered the flow of imported goods. As customer spending shifted from services to goods, container shortages increased, resulting in many companies not having the ability to secureadewuate capacity. As global container shortages become more and more common and continue to cause issues navigating volatility without the proper technology, freight forwarders are needed. 

Delays and Blanked Sailings in China

A blank sailing, also called void sailing at times, occurs when the ocean line service operator decides to cancel a call or skip a particular port, region, or even an entire leg on the scheduled route. This can occur due to inclement weather, port congestion, or issues with the port or vessels. Such problems can cause issues in collaboration in freight networks, shipments, and more. And the risk of new variants of COVID-19 may lead to additional blanked sailings in China too. 

What’s on the Horizon for the Freight Forwarding Market in 2022

As the supply chain network continues to face issues from the pandemic and peak season demands, the market is expected to continue facing issues throughout the new year as well. Issues such as shortages, supply-demand, and increased freight rates have the expectancy to last. In order to be a successful freight broker in the upcoming year and have the best for companies, it is important to understand the upcoming trends and expectations. 

Trucking Tonnage Will Rise

In the year to come, more companies hope to seek out more visibility for trucking. According to Road Scholar, “The primary insight in this report predicts that the U.S. will see a 24 percent increase in freight tonnage in 2022, producing a 66 percent increase in revenue for the industry.  The bulk of that increase for next year, and the next decade, is occurring in the trucking segment.” As the true importance of trucking and shipping services gains visibility, it has been projected to have an impact on the demand for proper infrastructures like roads and bridges. It is also expected to bring added pressure for companies to increase compensation for commercial truckers. 

Intermodal Transport Will Increase as Forwarders Look to Clear Backlogs

As companies and those in the supply chain try to find a solution to all the backlog and reoccurring issues, freight forwarders can help. Road Scholar mentions again, “While sea transport is projected at a more modest growth rate of 7 percent, the overall intermodal market is expected to reach more than $30 billion in 2022, up from $11 billion in 2016.  This also drives the demand for more reliance on commercial trucking for the final distribution-to-the-end-user solution.” Thanks to the modern technological advancements provided by freight forwarders and the industry, freight forwarding market providers can finally start to return to their normal loads and capacity.

Market Conditions Will Still Favor Carriers for Q1 of 2022

Due to the supply and demand within the market, carriers and e-commerce 3PLs still provide the best option for means of fast and reliable delivery. With the constant stress of shortages and poor visibility in the supply chain, trucking companies continue to meet the growing need for on-time delivery and transportation services. Companies expect trucking to continue to support spot rates in the market throughout 2022. Researchers expect this due to outside forces including steady demand due to restocking, structural shifts in e-commerce, peak season preparation and shipping, and pent-up demand from port congestion. Preparing an appropriate freight shipping tech stack will make preparations for 2022 and beyond easier and more practical. 

Success in Freight Forwarding in 2022 Will Depend on the Right Technology and Partnerships

Peak season stress and issues remaining from the pandemic will last well into 2022.  Companies should expect to see the remaining issues with driver shortages, goods shortages, decreased visibility, and more. As the market continues to experience issues throughout the supply chain in different areas, having the proper software and other benefits from freight forwarders can help. With trucking and carriers continuing to provide the best mode of transportation for the upcoming year, companies will need assistance keeping up with high rates and shipment quantities. To get the help needed to address your company’s needs with freight forwarding and freight in 2022, contact Cargologik today to get started.

How E-Commerce Is Impacting Freight Forwarding

E-commerce growth is nothing new, but e-commerce is having a profound impact on the expectations for shippers and freight forwarders. The strong growth rates of e-commerce freight forwarding activity are set to break records, and it’s pushing the global supply chain to its limits. 

As reported by Joan Verdon of Forbes, Adobe “is predicting that global e-commerce sales will reach $4.2 trillion this year, with U.S. consumers accounting for close to one-quarter of that spending.” Such growth was also projected in Q2 of 2021, and as recent weeks have shown, carriers are bracing for an all-out assault on logistics capacity in the weeks leading up to the holiday shipping season. And with the current backlog of cargo and lack of capacity, much of these holidays goods were moved a lot earlier, especially at the larger retailers who are now even chartering their own ships to move goods to keep up with both in-store and especially online demand. 

This slowdown has had a massive impact in the way cargo is moving and potentially altering standard supply chain business practices. With that in mind, it’s important for shippers and forwarders to understand how e-commerce has impacted freight forwarding, how they can accommodate such changing demands and expectations, and how to start thinking about it from a business perspective.

Customer Demand Is a Driving Factor Influencing the Freight Forwarding Industry

Customer expectations and demands are the biggest factors driving evolution of freight forwarding. The e-commerce freight forwarding impact means customers want more freight to arrive faster and without any hiccups along the way. They want two-day shipping and shipping be transparent alerts and notifications every step along the way.

While that may seem trivial, there is only so much capacity available in international and domestic forwarding. Thus, forwarders are faced with a simple prospect; how do they increase capacity without adding capacity due to limited resources? How can an independent logistics provider gain further leverage without the same tech teams and innovation budgets you see at companies like Flexport and DHL?

The answer to that question lies in optimizing all activity and reducing rework or redundancies in all activities across both forward and reverse logistics processes. Less time, money, and resources being wasted on the same activities that rarely produce direct results. Things like “where’s my cargo” texts and getting quote details as quick as possible. Yes, they’re critical to the forwarder or broker, but at scale, weight down the mental load and realistic commercial capacity to deal with and manage  more clients. It’s critical to reduce the unnecessary communications and to address the client directly with automation and better tech – that will also save that shipper more time and money themselves.

Even more interestingly, forwarders are faced with a need to rethink their standard transportation modes. In other words, forwarders have traditionally focused on ocean for volume, but that’s no longer a viable option, especially with bottlenecks and delays growing worse. Essentially, e-commerce has made ocean too slow or too uncertain, forcing more forwarders to consider air transit, which is more expensive and requires more timely collaboration and coordination to grab whatever remaining capacity they can, at an “affordable” price which seems to be ever-growing.

However, it’s all the pursuit of building a better, faster and more resilient forwarding network. The current times will be tough, but for those that make it through, there’s a new era of innovation and tech standing ready to support your business and help your clients at the same time. Improving the customer experience remains paramount in business and software conversations.

Instant Service Pushes Forwarders to Offer Real-Time Status, Around-the-Clock Visibility

Another factor contributing to the e-commerce freight forwarding impact is visibility. E-commerce freight forwarding is built on service and transparency, giving customers the resources to know what’s happening from the comfort of their homes, offices or any other connected environment. Such capabilities depend on real-time access to shipping status, expected time of arrival, possible delays, and total landed costs. These factors contribute to the customer experience, and around-the-clock visibility is table-stakes for shippers and forwarders that wish to avoid returns. After all, e-commerce is associated with a 300%, roughly 30% total returns, higher rate of returns than brick-and-mortar stores, which usually sit around 7-10%. 

As a result, increased visibility can help customers know what to expect, know when an exception might occur, and keep them informed. An informed customer is less likely to return an item than a customer that has zero idea of when their items will arrive. Of course, both customers could still choose to submit the return. The trick is making sure every step is well documented and shared with customers to provide an added perception of service that serves a protective effect against such returns. Further, more visibility lessens the risk of forwarders and shippers by avoiding out-of-stocks, planning inventory needs, and accounting for delays when they occur. 

How Forwarders Can Embrace the E-Commerce Future

Part of this includes knowing what to look for in a system of record or freight forwarding system software. Regardless, choosing the right software is only one-half of the battle, and the rest lies in following these steps to embrace an e-commerce and freight forwarding driven future:

  1. Automate. Automate. Automate. 
  2. Optimize routes and pricing models.
  3. Track data in reverse logistics. 
  4. Expanded the number of connected systems and devices.
  5. Enhance warehouse and inventory management.
  6. Give customers access to shipping data at the time of purchase. 
  7. Integrate with major shopping carts to avoid delays or miscommunications.
  8. Reduce barriers and delays in cross-border shipping. 
  9. Identify and manage delivery exceptions more efficiently with business-intelligence resources.
  10. Embrace digital document management.

Align Your E-Commerce Freight Forwarding Business With the New Age of Logistics by Choosing the Right Software

The shift to more e-commerce activity is going to stay the same for both B2B and B2C transactions, and the trends driving the future of e-commerce freight forwarding will only grow more dominant. Shippers and freight forwarders need to recognize this fact and prepare for a year where more is going to be the mantra, and timeliness of service will separate the winners from the losers. Learn more about the value of the right software and how it can help your team thrive despite the impact of e-commerce by signing up for Cargologik today.

How to Grow Your Freight Forwarding Business Starting With One Shipper Contact

As the logistics and freight industry continues at a steady rise, some wanting to take part in the market may question how to grow a freight forwarding business or how difficult is to grow a company? Starting a freight forwarding company or trying to efficiently grow the business can have difficulties in such a competitive market. 

As the market continues to expand daily, freight forwarders must make the proper changes to keep up. According to MarketWatch, “The global Digital Freight Forwarder market size is projected to reach USD 3756.5 million by 2027, from USD 1370 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 15.5% during 2021-2027.” At such a rapid pace, forwarders must quickly have a strategy from a business standpoint on how to gain a competitive edge. Just understanding the market is not enough to keep up with the never-ending market growth, freight forwarders must take the proper steps for efficient growth. 

Freight forwarders must take proper action and steps in gaining a competitive edge to grow a company or start one. Approaches such as finding and training the proper staff, digital advancements with software, and utilizing social media to reach more customers can help grow a forwarding business, but alone, these steps can be confusing and lead new enterprises down rabbit holes that never build the business. However, the key to success is a unified, comprehensive strategy and series of steps that can help grow the business from the ground up and avoid problems. Let’s take a deeper look at the top steps to growing a freight forwarding business starting with a single shipper contact and how technology can help your business along the way. 

Study Your Competition

As competitive as the freight forwarding market continues to be, businesses must understand the need to study and understand their competition as a valuable tactic. Understanding how other competitors acquire customers so quickly and the systems they use can help you know what to include in business. Many companies use customer relationship management (CRM) services to see how long a salesman takes to make a deal. Additionally, using an updated and tech advanced platform can provide the upper hand to speed up processes and gain more customers. 

 In regards to freight forwarder business growth, shippers seek forwarders that can provide efficient customer service, fast response times, and proper cargo handling. Studying competitors can provide some tricks to use and add to your business strategy, and some to do differently and use as a lesson of what to avoid. Forwarding companies can then take the information gained from observing the competition and see where to implement changes. 

Find and Train the Right Staff

For anyone wondering how to grow a freight forwarding business, or what it takes to have a successful business, remember the importance of the proper staff. A company is only as good as its staff, which is why freight forwarding businesses must take the time to hire and train the right staff. An expert team can make the work experience easier to manage and make the transportation process smoother. Most importantly, properly training staff is vital for safety purposes to ensure proper cargo handling without injuries. Understanding the market and what shippers hope to gain from forwarders can promote proper communication and training to staff. 

The staff must also comprehend the importance of the target audience and the most beneficial way to acquire new customers. For a business starting out, hiring and training the staff properly allows for them to easily grow with the business and adapt to more customers. Enforce the staff to focus on offering new solutions to customers, generate additional revenue, and build a stronger customer relationship. Acquiring new customers is always important, but make sure the staff understands the importance of maintaining a good relationship with current customers. Striving to have a more personal relationship with customers can gain a competitive edge over bigger companies in the logistics market. 

Stay Financially Stable With Freight Finance Solutions

Freight forwarders have the task of finding solutions for difficult shipping and warehousing needs for clients. The startup costs for a freight forwarding business are low, however as the business loads grow, so will the cost to keep up. Companies roughly request on average a month to three months to pay for invoices. Such a long period of time without payment especially from multiple clients can result in financial problems quickly occurring. One financing solution is freight factoring all invoices or only the slow-paying ones. Freight factoring allows you to receive liquidity and immediate advance while the invoice company waits for the payment. As soon as the client is happy with the services, the factoring company will review the documentation and send the funds. Freight factoring allows for improved cash flow and diminishes issues with slow-paying invoices, which can allow businesses to grow at a steady pace. 

Digitize Your Workflows by Choosing the Right Forwarding Software

Especially when starting a freight forwarding business or hoping for freight forwarder business growth, using the most efficient forwarding software is essential. The right forwarding software should provide a variety of services and implications to make the process easier and improve business. When starting a business, the core technology and software can make or break how the company will work or grow. The most beneficial system software can provide integrated services and capabilities for the business and customers. 

Real-Time Data Access

Modern freight forwarding services should be able to provide real-time data as the topic continues to grow in demand. Instant access to data can provide forwarders with the proper information to make data-driven decisions. Technology has the ability to streamline operations and provide an easier process throughout the supply chain with the proper data. The correct data can provide insight into improving profit margins, reducing costs, and what areas to focus on for improvement. Shippers need the ability to access instant shipment status and data and they rely on the freight forwarder to make that happen. Using outdated data or not having an easily accessible platform can cause shippers to have the wrong information, or not have it at the right time. 

Digital Document Management

No shipper wants the hassle of searching through an endless paper trail to find the documentation and shipment status needed. Without proper documentation management, important paperwork such as invoices, bills of lading, and customs clearance paperwork can be lost or impossible to track down. A proper forwarding software can provide a resource for storing, retrieving, and searching for documents. Having access to such a platform can increase communication throughout the team and allow them to implement the information across the documents. Proper document management can provide important documents to be easily recorded, filed, managed, and accessed digitally whenever needed. 

Improved Transparency

A beneficial freight forwarding software will enable less time to be spent searching for documents and data. Forwarders have the opportunity to visualize cargo flow more efficiently while alleviating issues throughout. Shippers will have the ability to gain transparency through the platform provided by the forwarding software. Transparency allows for everyone to know the shipping status and other details to keep operations functional and on the same page. As volumes continue to grow daily forwarders can help provide access to timelines across different modes through a single platform to provide shippers and carriers transparency with shipment information.

Inventory Management

Software should provide accessibility for inventory flow, freight relocation in the warehouse, and forecasting of the product demand from data and analytics. Going back to proper real-time data, without this the inventory count and logistics will be incorrect and can affect profit. To positively affect profit, inventory management can decrease waste reduction due to tracking inventory levels and trends of products, sales, and deliveries. A freight forwarder that provides a platform should benefit shippers with timely inventory planning and to achieve increased visibility.

Analytics Services

Companies curious about how to get clients as a forwarder must understand the need for actionable data and analytics in such a competitive market. For a forwarding business starting out or hoping to grow, they must gain a competitive advantage and get ahead of the rest. Proper analytics through software can improve cost management, visibility, and efficiency through the operations of the supply chain. Real-time data and analytics can provide shippers with the visibility and resources needed for data-driven decision-making. Unifying data and analytics allows forwarders to keep landing costs in check while providing shippers with the data needed to understand what forwarders have done for the business. Data and analytics improve managing e-commerce to gain knowledge of what should be focused on and improved from a business standpoint. 

Increased Visibility

Forwarding software should be able to provide visibility from real-time data and analytics. Having the proper data, analytics, and visibility can reduce the risk of lost shipments and improve tracking. Using freight forwarding platforms, client data, documentation, predictive analytics, and real-time data can provide clear visibility while also deriving actionable insights for freight forwarders. Becoming data-centralized and focusing on visibility with shipment status, documentation, and scheduling deliveries or pickups can increase efficiency, avoid delays, and improve operations overall. Freight forwarding software can increase visibility and actionable insights for shippers through platforms, client data, documents, analytics, and real-time data. 

Stay Informed with Platforms

Collaborative platforms allow shippers, freight forwarders, and others to maintain communication and more helpful resources. Especially in today’s world as change happens rapidly, having a system that allows for constant messaging and data access is vital. Such a platform allows for document management, communication with shippers and others, and statuses on shipments to be easily accessed. Shippers should expect document management, easy access to booking cargo space, and tracking of shipments, providing a website that signifies the shipper’s needs will entice them to become returning customers. Especially for freight forwarders starting out, having a platform or dashboard allows for sales performance and data-driven strategy to be utilized. 

Create Robust Social Media and Digital Marketing Campaigns

Social media can provide an easy platform to use for marketing and public relations (PR) for small or large companies. Such platforms help freight forwarder business growth due to easy access, entry to anyone, and the ability to target consumers. Rather than only reaching out to those who already understand and work with logistics, social media provides a way to include others. Logistics continues to be a topic that users either understand or don’t, social media platforms can increase recognition to the public. Marketing through platforms commonly used such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, can provide market segmentation to reach the proper audience. Putting ads on such platforms and taking the proper steps to ensure the most beneficial audience sees the ad can increase customer potential. 

Companies cannot just continue to plaster stickers on the side of trucks and hope the right people drive by and just so happen to need a forwarder if the question at hand is how to get clients as a forwarder. Logistics companies have the opportunity to use technology and globalization to improve communication and advertisement. Having a business page on social media and using ad campaigns can lead customers to the website and entice them to pay for the service. Social media is everywhere today, providing businesses with a platform to reach customers anywhere and everywhere on the web. Providing a functional website that clearly delivers the company’s message and is easy to use can attract more customers. Ensure the customers can find everything and anything they may need to plan a load or meet basic necessities. 

Stay Engaged With News-Driven Content Too

New forwarding companies can benefit from understanding the freight forwarder book of business and engaging with logistics and freight news content. Staying up-to-date on news-driven content allows management to keep up with the market and industry changes. Keeping up with news content can help forwarders starting a business to analyze and understand the market. This will allow companies to keep up with logistics trends, competitors, and new strategies to gain more leads. As market value and costs continue to change every day, staying up-to-date on such news and events can allow freight forwarders to make the proper changes to operations. Keeping up with the latest freight news can provide vital learning and knowledge on the industry so informed decision-making becomes easier. If the company seeks to grow globally, keeping up with international news and markets allows the company to provide more solutions for different areas. 

Connect With the Right Peers

Connections and networking around the globe with suppliers, buyers, and customers is vital for growing a business. For many curious about how to grow a freight forwarding business, communication and using a logistics network are key to making growth happen. There are a variety of different platforms that provide interaction for forwarders on a global level. Freight forwarders must develop a clear business strategy that promotes global business exchange and allows your transportation business to expand efficiently. Starting a freight forwarding business with the guidance of networking and load boards can make it easier to generate new leads without spending extra money. Additionally, having access to a marketplace or other form of the network allows forwarders to gain more customers even from a global standpoint. Sign up for Cargologik to get started today. 

What Are the Features to Expect in Freight Forwarding System Software

The global freight forwarding market is expanding significantly, and today’s forwarder services are advancing to keep pace. According to a recent review, published by Valuates Reports, “the global Freight forwarding market size is projected to reach USD 207 Billion by 2026, from USD 170 Billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 2.8% during 2020-2026. The increasing demand for low-cost shipping, the ability to understand customer preferences, and the prompt reaction with logistical solutions are the primary drivers driving the expansion of the freight forwarding market. Furthermore, freight forwarding market expansion is likely to be fueled by rising demand for integrated services.” 

Yet, integrated services and capabilities can be difficult to figure out and put into action. With the growing arsenal of possible supply chain platforms that forwarders could use, it’s difficult to see the forest of possibilities for all the hype behind them. Complicating the stage is the current state of flux the industry is facing.  As a result, supply chain leaders need to know the features to expect in world-class freight forwarding systems and collaboration platforms

1. Real-Time Data Access

Access to real-time data is the most universal benefit and in-demand feature of modern freight forwarding software. Shippers need instant access to current shipment status, estimated time of arrival, cutoff dates, unforeseen delays and complications, and more. Rather than simply waiting for that information to come in via communication channels, users can seamlessly and instantly stay on top of all applications and needs within the right platform. We’re already trained to pay attention to signals in our supply chain, now we can couple data and signal-based alerts to truly become the partners and advisors our clients expect and need us to be more than ever these days.

2. Commercial Business Intelligence and Data Analytics

The value of data grows even stronger for shippers when applied across data analytics. Analytics help shippers understand what carriers or forwarders did, their performance rankings, and how to use those relationships to keep landed costs in check. Good working knowledge of key performance indicators around operations and profitability helps build a more strategic, informed organization that can move forward more confidently.  Forwarders realize a similar benefit by unifying their data streams to continuously monitor the performance of their partnering carriers or other service providers as well.  Seek out integrations, or even operating layers, to help further connect siloed data sources and try to use systems with modern APIs, and at very least other means of communicating with other systems such as EDI or CSV data exports.

3. Collaborative Messaging Platforms

Any strategy for freight forwarding success will falter without instant and clear messaging. In today’s world, the timeliness of communications can mean the difference between a happy customer experience or a cancellation request. But there are more means of communication than ever before, and clients, just like 2-day shipping, expect instant communication and a personal touch at the same time.  It’s what separates regular, one-off clients, from that of repeat business and more loyal, dependable customers.

The challenge of balancing out new and loyal revenue is something that touches the daily lives of all indie forwarders – there are only so many calls, texts, and emails across platforms such as WeChat, WhatsApp, signal, SMS, email, and the like, that forwarders and other logistics services providers can give to their demanding clients.  Similarly, the collaboration tools within a world-class freight forwarding system software should help users navigate through the commercial noise, document activities, and support more proactive customer communication. 

Being able to not only communicate in a timely manner but keeping these communications organized and centralized for both parties can structurally differentiate and bolster the customer experience. If you have proper, dedicated systems in place to strategically scale up these preferred customer communication channels, while gaining work leverage, you can drive more loyal revenue that helps the entire organization operate more strategically.

4. Centralized, Cloud-Based Recordkeeping

The modern supply chain is full of opportunities for improvement and many activities, across the globe, and across time zones. Managing and running a successful supply chain that wins comes down to the various touchpoints within the customer experience and the possible issues that may arise. 

As noted by McKinsey & Company, “Only by looking at the customer’s experience through his or her own eyes—along the entire journey taken—can you really begin to understand how to meaningfully improve performance. Customer journeys include many things that happen before, during, and after the experience of a product or service. Journeys can be long, stretching across multiple channels and touchpoints, and often lasting days or weeks. 

Bringing a new customer on board is a classic example. Another is resolving a technical issue, upgrading a product, or helping a customer to move a service to a new home. Organizations that fail to appreciate the context of these situations and manage the cross-functional, end-to-end experiences that shape the customer’s view of the business can prompt a downpour of negative consequences, from customer defection and dramatically higher call volumes to lost sales and lower employee morale. In contrast, those that provide the customer with the best experience from start to finish along the journey can expect to enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention, reduce end-to-end service cost, and strengthen employee satisfaction.” 

Given that insight, it amounts to the need to see everything from within a centralized platform, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms like Cargologik make this possible. And regardless of which solution you choose for your organization, make sure it’s done through the lens of your client. Even better, if you can involve your clients and request their feedback, you will find them appreciative of your efforts – especially if it will save them time, money, and simplifies operations.

5. Digital Document Management

Another feature of the right freight forwarding system software involves how well it aggregates and allows users to access documents. In other words, does the system enable digital document management and digital forwarding shipment execution? 

Paper-based processes worked great in the past but imagine the headache of searching an endless paper trail to find shipment status. An advanced platform overcomes that issue by providing a central resource for document storage, retrieval and searching. Think “Google-search” for your shipments, alerts, and communication.

This ensures your entire team can easily find and apply information from across these documents on demand. That’s a marked advantage over traditional approaches to managing freight forwarding, and it inherently lends itself to the next benefit of a modern platform, increased transparency. 

6. Less Email Management and Improved Transparency

Since everything is contained within an overarching platform, users spend less time trying to compile and enter data, respond to customer service requests, and other back-office processes. Instead, they gain a way to effectively lessen the burden of email management while also promoting increased transparency into all operations. For instance, the right forwarding software should include storage for trade compliance filings, quotes, purchase orders, POD, the BOL, and more. 

In the same way that Slack & Microsoft Teams transformed traditional emails and other redundant, error-prone methods of communication that are slower, so your system can simplify and streamline experiences for the customer. This is a win-win for everyone involved – saving time, money, and resources for both the forwarder and the shipper.

7. Integration With E-Commerce Shopping Carts

The success of freight forwarders depends on the ability to reach more customers and how they build stronger relationships. This, therefore, includes integration with major e-commerce platforms and shopping carts. These services, such as WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify, all have a loyal following of shipper customers, and if your platform doesn’t integrate, you’ll alienate potential customers. Meanwhile, integration further leads to additional opportunities to build better experiences as well. 

8. Mobile Shipment Tracking

Mobile shipment tracking, via an app like in Cargologik, also streamlines operations for freight forwarders. Since everything is integrated, shippers can instantly see their shipment status from any mobile device. And, forwarders can stay on top of high-priority items without logging into a dozen different systems. Any platform you use should be able to immediately provide value to both the shipper and forwarder on a 3G connection and whatever device that they’re on.  This is a unique advantage of modern logistics and precisely how a world-class freight forwarding software should work, unifying all processes and activities to make it easier to manage from anywhere – especially the customer.

9. Logistics Timeline Tracking

Perhaps the biggest innovation in freight forwarding is the ability to track cargo across multiple parties, legs of transportation, and service levels. This is where leveraging logistics timelines can help forwarders easily see the current status and coordinate movements across multiple services, including Amazon and DHL, in one solution. 

Functions like the DHL Tracking Number or Amazon Logistics Timeline are examples of software ecosystems that are unwalled. Meaning that they are able to provide value without requiring logins, and naturally promoting adoption, vs forcing it.  The former almost always outperforms the latter in the software world.  If you can replicate these types of functions for your own system, the better likelihood you’re going to be able to keep up with those growing customer transparency demands.

10. Chat Platforms to Stay Informed and Working Together

Logistics timelines are only one part of the equation, and leveraging collaborative tools, i.e., chat platforms, can help forwarders interact with other service providers. By working together and within a singular system, forwarders can instantly share shipment status and help everyone stay on the same page with integrated functionality across any communication channel, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, and email, within a singular, unified chat platform through Cargologik. 

It’s certainly not easy to wean shippers off WhatsApp and emails, but an element of an important platform is also the ability to facilitate actual usage and the direction of communication into the platform in the first place.  This streamlined form of communication eventually unlocks valuable time and resources from both the customer experience and freight operations perspective by allowing commercial reps and their client to stay focused on the highest-margin-producing activities, clients, and projects.

11. Automated Push Notifications

While automated processing and management are excellent for complex operations, there will always be the need to keep everyone informed, especially when something goes wrong. This is where automated push notifications—another feature common to the right forwarding software for your business, are crucial. Push notifications provide that instant touchpoint to ensure your team, your partners, and your customers all know what’s happening and what’s next. These also alleviate customer service shipment status inquiries by ensuring everyone gets notifications when any issue, or exception, occurs as well. Last they further support an instant response on the right system, by making it easy and quick to navigate back to the important item, alert, or communication at hand with just a tap or click.  Leverage is the name of the game and the advantage of push notifications can mean all the differences between a successful and unsuccessful logistical operation.

12. Bulk Information Uploads

In global forwarding, manual upload of individual shipment details is a massive waste and killer of time efficiency. That’s why a world-class platform should enable bulk information uploading, seamlessly providing a way to pull data from across a master BOL and populate individual BOLs or other shipment data to provide context behind every shipment every time. This helps users better isolate and overcome potential disruptions while keeping everyone on the same page. 

These systems should also be compatible for integrations, data export formats (ex. .CSV, .XLS), and have wizards and tools to make it easy for the end-user to figure out how to get the right information to where it needs to be in the system. For a software provider, the user experience for the forwarder must be taken into account and made to be really simple to figure out and get started using. 

13. Instant Quoting Processes

A bulk way of uploading data naturally gives rise to improved quoting processes that also help provide a more automated approach to forwarding. Instead of waiting hours, if not days, for quotes and confirmation or scheduling of a pickup, freight forwarding software integrations enable a turnkey quoting process. And such functions are vital across all modes, especially as capacity tightens and time becomes more of the essence in everyday activities. 

Today’s independent forwarders and their clients, who often have their own end-user clients, need to be able to bypass all the back and forth, and valuable time wasted exchanging the same basic messages over and over again.  This cuts down on response time, increases service level, and helps build more loyal clients and repeat revenue over time. And when the end-user and shippers win, so too do the forwarder.

14. Customer Facing Portal

A customer-facing portal is yet another feature to look for in a world-class freight forwarding system software. A customer-facing portal eliminates many of the unneeded data points housed within your system and ensures your partnering providers, or customers, can access the right information. This also gives forwarder’s clients the ability to request quotes on-demand and from any device, even those that haven’t yet downloaded a software app, which is yet another benefit of choosing Cargologik too. Additionally, these portals need to be designed in a user-friendly way, and the best platforms that are aware of this, build their product and software in a way that makes the user experience seamless and smooth. When this happens, the customers are happier, NPS scores go up, and again, more loyal revenue and clients come back and get referred to your forwarding or brokerage business.

15. Rapid Search Tools to Find Shipment Details

The last core feature to look for when choosing a freight forwarding platform is the most universal to all the 14 features listed thus far: it’s the ability to leverage rapid search tools to find information on-demand regardless of its medium. This includes emails, chats, carrier-generated updates, exception notifications, and documents. It’s this universal search tool that can do the most for reducing inefficiencies and promoting a more strategic and successful freight shipping tech stack. If all software had google’s magical usage capabilities, meaning having the ability to simply put in a few words, and achieve the most relevant results quickly, becomes a major advantage on both the internal and external sides of the forwarding process.

Choose the Right International Freight Forwarding System Software to Succeed

Freight forwarding is only growing more complex, and delays in back-office processes will lead to massive losses throughout your team’s efficiency and productivity.  More technology, tools, and data feeds are giving us more and more information, to which the task of operating on the data becomes that much more difficult. Avoid these issues by partnering with a world-class forwarding software that includes all the above features and more within a singular, advanced, and data-backed solution. Choose Cargologik, so sign up for Cargologik to get started today to start scaling up your business and client base.