Freight Forwarding

What Are the Freight Forwarding Services Shippers Should Expect?

Using freight forwarding networks and services can take business and cargo to the next level while coordinating goods from one destination to another. Through knowledge and expertise, freight forwarding services can ensure the proper delivery of the goods while saving the company money and offering more services. The benefits of using a freight forwarder and additional services provided below will allow for a better understanding of how this happens and its impact on your ability to deliver a better experience to your e-commerce customers. 

What Are Freight Forwarding Services?

A freight forwarder transports goods from one destination to another as a third party, most often in the international space, specializing in arranging the entire process for shippers. While they are similar to freight brokers, forwarders take on additional specialized services that help to facilitate trade between carriers, brokers, and even other forwarders. Additionally, a forwarder has extensive knowledge of document requirements, regulations, transportation costs, and banking practices to ease the exporting process for shippers. The services forwarders provided include: 

  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Preparation of shipping and export documents
  • Warehousing
  • Booking cargo space
  • Freight consolidation
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Filing insurance claims

An example to show when freight forwarding services are needed is when a seller wants to get goods or products to a fulfillment center. Instead of trying to manage the whole process, shippers can hire freight forwarders to handle all the hassle of pickup by carriers from the manufacturers to customs processing to delivery at an inland distribution center. 

What About NVOCCs Versus Forwarders

A non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) is an ocean carrier that transports goods within their own House Bill of Lading or equal documentation without operating ocean transportation vessels. An NVOCC’s activities may include booking space and arranging to ship with mainline, paying transportation freight or other transportation charges, issuing documents, and conducting contracts of international carriage of goods with the shippers as carriers. 

Like freight forwarders, an NVOCC enters into volume-based ocean freight arrangements with the various shipping lines operating across the different trade lanes at a basic level. Furthermore, NVOCCs then create their own tariff to sell space on such liner services to various clients. Internationally, a freight forwarder and NVOCC tend to have the same job description, except for the legal distinction between the two. NVOCCs operate by negotiating space from common carriers to contract out to freight forwarders and shippers and have the master bill of lading. Meanwhile, forwarders may operate well beyond the boundaries of NOVCCs

Types of Freight Forwarding Services Provided

For importing and exporting goods, freight forwarding services can provide expertise in documentation, regulations, and customs clearance varies from country to country.  Many of the most successful importers and exporters use freight forwarding services to boost throughput. Using a freight forwarder can provide a seamless operation while providing helpful assistance to grow the efficiency and visibility of the company. In fact, let’s consider the top types of freight forwarder services in demand in today’s world. These include the following:

Customs Clearance

Every load of cargo that gets exported or imported must go through the destination country’s customs clearance process. To pass customs clearance, rules, laws, and regulations must be met and vary for each country and even between each port. Freight forwarding services can assist with import documentation, payment of duties or other costs, resulting in time-efficient shipping to make the customs clearance process seamless. 

Additionally, documentation may include sales invoices, certificate of origin, the buyer’s purchase order, supplier invoice, the bill of entry, lading, and packing list. A freight forwarder can deal with customers’ agents and submit the proper paperwork to relevant authorities, so one less issue for shippers to address. This is especially helpful since a problem with the documentation or the cargo with the documentation can delay the delivery, harming the business. When a delay occurs, and the shipment sits in the warehouse longer, the company usually carries responsibility for the additional warehouse and storage fees. Forwarders ultimately help avoid any costly delays using the resources and networks available to them as forwarding entities to abide by the correct rules for a specific region. 

Insurance

With global trade increasing, freight forwarders continue to expand their network around the world. But, sailing in the uncertain waters comes with a host of possibilities and uncertainties. Having insurance during operations can become more of a necessity than an option, especially during unexpected circumstances and accidents leading to damages and financial losses. Freight forwarders liability insurance can assist with cargo that has damages from mishandling, natural calamity, abandonment, vessel rerouting, late custom release, and more. The insurance can cover losses and ease the financial strain that can acquire from mishaps with cargo. It’s that simple, and it’s that difference that will provide the needed reassurance for operating in the global world of e-commerce.

Labeling and Packing

Freight forwarders can also help clients prepare and package products properly for shipping. Overseas shipping has different complexities with requiring shipments in large containers and loading-unloading multiple times during transit. For a package to properly ship, the labeling has details that must also be included to pass customs clearance. The bill of lading, certificate of origin, commercial invoice, export license, inspection certificate, export packing list, and shipper’s export declaration must be on the label for shipments. Using a freight forwarder for these services can save stress and provide reliable logistics on industry expertise and assistance with international shipping.

Storage

A professional freight forwarder can further provide customers with warehouse space in the country of origin and the destination. This is a marked advantage for those operating in markets with tight or limited container capacity. For reference, per diem fees occur when equipment is kept away from port for too long, such as during movement from the ship to an inland warehouse. However, nearby storage through freight forwarders will allow for the goods to be covered by insurance and housed in a secure area, while effectively lowering the turnaround time for trucks. As a result, the risk of per diem fees declines. From the packing and warehouse stages to the customs procedure through the final delivery, freight forwarders can take the hassle on their shoulders and provide extra services to ensure there’s nothing for the customer to handle. 

Inventory Management

An e-commerce platform helps gain control over the inventory flow, reallocating freight when needed, and forecasting demand based on ordering trends. But again, inventory management all depends on replenishment logistics, including shipping and storage prior to arrival at your warehouse. This is where freight forwarders can again add value.  Furthermore, inventory management goes a long way in waste reduction and tracking inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries, and since forwarders’ whole businesses are managing the logistics of other companies, they naturally are experts in inventory management and planning. Moreover, working with freight forwarding services can help shippers achieve better visibility through the chain network and promote timely inventory planning. 

Digital Document Management

A comprehensive and easy-to-use freight platform in the tech stack allows for everything together within a digital, connected document storage and retrieval system. This freight forwarding system can eliminate the worries of tracking down paperwork and enhance communication with other freight management parties and customers alike. Documents, such as invoices, payment records, delivery confirmations, bills of lading, and customs documentation, can be recorded, filed, managed, and accessed digitally. This is essential to meeting all IOR and EOR requirements as well. 

E-Commerce Integration

Looking at e-commerce and the trajectory for the continued growth, The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) found a few strong statistics, “1.45 billion people shopped online globally (up 9% from 2017), and e-commerce sales reached USD 25.6 trillion (up 8% from 2017). B2B was valued at USD 21 trillion, representing 83% of all e-commerce.” From the past buying habits of customers to now, online shopping has grown immensely, resulting in businesses adapting to provide digital solutions to stay competitive. It’s in this space where freight forwarders have continued to optimize paperless trade and technology usage to stay up to date with the new business models. Additionally, that includes building integrations between forwarding systems, like Cargologik, and major e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento and even Amazon FBA.

A Visibility System for Real-Time Shipment Status

Accountability and transparency with real-time tracking and monitoring systems used through digital freight networks allow freight forwarders to visualize cargo flow better. And real-time visibility alleviates many of the issues that arise from outdated data and misinformation. Having improved data-driven technology and automation allows for end-to-end communication and visibility in freight forwarding services, which amounts to keep freight management parties and customers apprised of current shipment status and avoiding unnecessary check calls. Further, to reduce the risk of lost shipments, automation combined with user-friendly communication through alerts, emails, and notifications can allow close collaboration and true management by exception. Using freight forwarding platforms, client data, documentation, predictive analytics, and real-time data can provide clear visibility while also deriving actionable insights, as detailed below.

Analytics Services

With the best freight forwarding analytics technology, getting ahead of the competition and providing customers excellent service and results became a lot easier. Using analytics can help achieve improved cost management, end-to-end visibility and efficiency throughout the supply chain network, and using software-as-a-service (SaaS) can increase collaboration and supply chain visibility at a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-house-developed systems. Integrating analytics and SaaS data can provide intuitive, easy-to-understand reports of supply chain operations, allowing for improved efficiency and centralized focus. And utilizing big data and analytics can give managers the visibility and insights to maintain partnerships and efficiency across the network, leading back to the value-added benefits of world-class freight forwarding services too.

Choose a World-Class Freight Forwarding Platform to Provide These Services to Your Clients.

Access to a freight forwarding platform can help your business gain a competitive advantage while promoting efficiency and visibility. A simplified, easy-to-understand, and intuitive freight management software platform can help improve resolution time, win over more quotes, encourage communication, and improve organizational performance—all of the benefits and services at the convenience of a user-friendly digital dashboard. Additionally, the value added by choosing the right freight forwarder is simply too great to ignore, and shippers need to know what to expect from a world-class freight forwarding services provider. 

Sign up for Cargologik to Get Started.

As a shipper, having e-commerce capability and visibility can allow access to the data needed to help see what can boost the industry’s efficiency. Advanced freight forwarders make that a reality by leveraging world-class software that’s ready to deploy in e-commerce fulfillment like Cargologik. Get a demo of Cargologik today to see improvements in your operation.

Tips on How to Start a Freight Forwarding Business

The beginning stage to start a freight forwarding business is knowledge. Getting to know the role of digital freight forwarding and how to implement these strategies across all platforms in freight forwarding is paramount to the success of businesses in the supply chain. The idea behind hiring a freight forwarder is to streamline the processes within the supply chain and eliminate more time-consuming tasks, as described by Forbes. Identifying process agents, establishing a trust fund or funds to obtain a broker bond, and integrating record systems with global platforms allow those who aspire to be freight forwarders to become one. 

1. Know Who Your Process Agents Will Be for Each Stage of the Business

Knowing the process agents assigned to freight brokers is one of the very beginning stages of becoming a freight broker. The initial stages of how to start a freight forwarding business begin with applying and obtaining a USDOT number. A USDOT is required for anyone wanting to operate within the US. Upon obtaining this number, then one must apply for broker authority. These process agents assist freight brokers through this legal process at each stage. 

2. Establish the Trust Fund(s) Necessary to Get a Freight Broker Bond

In the US, to obtain a broker license and become an independent freight forwarder, one must meet the predetermined requirement fees. Establishing the trust fund(s) to get a freight broker bond to start a freight forwarding business is mandatory for initial costs. These funds protect carriers and shippers from issues that may arise during shipping. 

3. Double Down on Your Marketing Strategy

Another tip for those looking to start a freight forwarding business is to really fine-tune the desired marketing strategy. With e-commerce 3PL and other resources to monitor, finding the right plan for a new freight forwarding business can be easier. Locate shippers and carriers using existing databases to network while also providing modern and more technology-inclined processes like social media will make choosing your company a no-brainer. 

4. Integrate Your Systems of Record With Global Platforms

When working with digital freight and other freight means, integrating the current systems of record with global platforms will open a larger target area for those wanting to start a freight forwarding business. 

5. Take Advantage of Business Directories and Load Boards to Find More Networking Partners and Shipper-Customers

Additional methods of expanding your digital freight network are searching existing business directories. Another way of locating more network partners and customers is by monitoring load boards. By doing so, new freight professionals looking to start a freight forwarding business can generate new leads without the hassle or the cost. Finding free load boards can help with start-up expenses and keep long-term costs down. Do not forget the power of online lead generation as well, and the internet is a powerful tool. 

Be a Better Freight Broker WIth the Right Forwarding Platform in Use

The real key to start a freight forwarding business is as simple as one, two, three. The final step to becoming the freight forwarding expert all carriers and shippers want to work with means finding the right forwarding platform to use. Take advantage of those free resources, compare and contrast, but ultimately, consult experts and sign up for Cargologik today. 

Best Practices to Compete With Digital Freight Forwarding Companies

The boom of e-commerce within the supply chain forces companies to compete with digital freight forwarding companies with more tactful operations. Domestic freight forwarders and others within the industry can keep up with the demand for the e-commerce led supply chain if they understand customers’ needs. They achieve this feat by knowing how to continuously add value, and that means knowing a few tips to success. Let’s take a closer look at these tips or best practices and how they enable a better and more strategic competitive advantage for freight forwarders.

1. Understand Your Customers’ Needs by Tracking Their Interactions With Your Business

For digital freight forwarding companies, collaboration and technology will be the key factor for remaining competitive in the booming e-commerce market. Understanding customers’ needs are easier to handle if businesses track their interactions with potential clientele from the beginning. 

2. Recognize That Technology Is Continuously Evolving

As the world reaches each technological milestone, remember that technology will always be changing and evolving to meet the next need. This can be difficult to keep tabs on, but the devil is in the details. According to Deloitte.com, professionals continue to fail to keep up with the current tech demand in many ways, but the biggest risk is getting lost in the weeds. The solution is to choose and keep their tech stack more actionable, insightful and direct. 

3. Streamline Freight Settlement and Payment With Integrated Systems

As far as being an international freight forwarder within the space of other digital freight forwarding companies, the effort to consolidate payment with more centralized systems continues to reign supreme. Freight settlement and methods of payment can be performed at a more efficient rate by integrating existing systems with upgraded and new systems. This process is faster and boosts the likelihood of remaining competitive. And it also builds rapport with your carrier partners.

4. Measure the Health of Your Business With Analytics

Freight forwarders must know how their business is performing, and by using analytics that monitor everything, it’s easier to keep track of successes and failures.  With the help of descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics, experts can determine when issues might become impactful, why and what’s necessary to avoid them. Not only can they monitor this in real-time, but analytics insights also provide an opportunity to capture problems before they become costly or detrimental. Staying competitive with digital freight forwarding companies means reducing issues and proactively monitoring each piece of the business for improvement. 

5. Ensure Your System of Record Fully Integrates With All Major E-Commerce Platforms

Another way to enhance collaboration by digitizing your freight network and to stay competitive with digital freight forwarding companies is to ensure the system fully integrates with all major e-commerce platforms. This means the current system can also meet the same quality as other major e-commerce platforms because the same information can be obtained and shared in real-time.

6. Implement Sustainable, ESG-Oriented Transportation Management Goals

The best way to keep e-commerce giants from monopolizing the market is to implement sustainable transportation management goals. More companies are recognizing that environment, social and governance-oriented goals can increase competitive advantage. Unfortunately, many supply chain professionals do not know they need to bear this in mind. However, the supply chain is responsible for a large carbon footprint. The world wants more sustainable options, and this can ensure a competitive edge for those who need more visibility. 

Stay Competitive by Choosing the Right Platform for Digital Freight Forwarding Companies, Brokers and 3PLs

Whether experts and supply chain management are navigating volatility with technology or simply trying to enhance their services, choosing the right platform for business needs means remaining competitive in this e-commerce driven world. Sign up for Cargologik to enable the best in independent freight forwarding. 

Freight Forwarding Sales Leads: 7 Lead Generation Tips

The key to finding the best freight forwarding sales leads lies in utilizing the resources at hand to the best of one’s ability. Whether it is digital freight like e-commerce or any other cargo, any lead can be found. For independent freight forwarders, they need to remember to be precise and clear when defining services. In addition to this feature, they need to capture data in real-time, leverage social media tools for the advantage, use collaborative resources, and stay informed on the latest market trends. These and other features can keep freight forwarders competitive with even the largest corporation. 

1. Define Services Clearly

One hurdle freight forwarders run into when searching for freight forwarding sales leads is the inability to define services clearly. The struggle with over-promises and lack of clarity can make one potential new client someone else’s new client. 

2. Capture and Analyze Data in Real-Time

Real-time data collection means e-commerce logistics and freight forwarding sales leads professionals can recruit new clientele more easily. Not only does real-time data analytics provide an invaluable service just by allowing that window into the process, but it also means experts can utilize the data they obtain to generate new sales leads. 

3. Leverage Online Video and Social Media Marketing

Another advantageous angle for freight forwarders and other logistics experts to consider is online video and social media marketing. WelpMagazine.com believes using more social media for marketing will broaden the audience to a global network for those freight forwarders who need it. Smaller businesses benefit more from this strategy because they are otherwise unseen by the majority of the supply chain and e-commerce world. 

4. Use a Collaborative Logistics Resource to Build Your Value Proposition

Another good way for an independent freight forwarder to building rapport among the supply chain community is to utilize collaborative logistics as a resource. Essentially, this just means pooling the data from all data sources, be it a TMS or OMS or a new warehouse management system that managers have yet to hear of or utilize. The wealth of knowledge lies before anyone can interpret the data and create their own freight forwarding sales leads. 

5. Stay Informed on Current Market Trends and Likely Cost Impacts

One of the more fundamental ways to generate freight forwarding sales leads is to stay informed. With the boom of e-commerce and e-commerce focused 3PL services, many logistics providers need to remain knowledgeable about the current market and other trends. The market volatility will determine costs, so recruiting during times of high volatility may negatively impact business. It is crucial to create contingency plans for when this happens to reduce cost impacts. 

6. Share Meaningful, Thought-Provoking Content in Your Blog

Another process experts may not think about are the blogs they create and their content. Many of those in need of freight forwarders want to be straight and to the point. Do not waste content or website space on frivolous blogs. Informative and to the point will create more freight forwarding sales leads and increase the likelihood of closing the sale. 

7. Create a Full Plan For Nurturing Leads Regardless of Funnel Position

An important tool to obtain within a digital freight network and other freight forwarding sales leads is a plan. Nurturing leads is the sure way to close a deal. Obtaining a potential new client means nothing without quality service that sets one business above the rest. It does not matter where a client remains, it is imperative to develop a plan to get them to the next step. This means each client, regardless of position in the funnel, is the most important one. 

Generate More Leads by Automating More Back-Office Functions and Letting Sales and Workers Focus on Gaining More Customers

The most effective way to generate more freight forwarding sales leads is to automate more functions within the sales cycle and to provide a stellar experience to your customers. This can be back-office or otherwise so that professionals can focus on world-class service instead. Sign up for Cargologik for a stand-out service freight forwarding technology experience and unbeatable professionals. 

DTC E-Commerce Logistics and the Role of Digital Freight Forwarding

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce logistics play a huge role in the era of digital freight forwarding. The rise of e-commerce logistics came with the increased demand for domestic and international goods. The last fiscal year showed significant increases in household spending on these goods, according to CommonThreadCo.com. As a result, some companies were able to increase traffic by 2.5x with DTC e-commerce. DTC e-commerce eliminates the need for a middle man and allows businesses to connect with customers on a more personal level. Digital freight forwarding works to get those goods to their final destination in one swoop and create positive customer experiences. And it’s essential to understand how this happens. 

What Exactly Is DTC E-Commerce and How Does it Impact the Modern Supply Chain Network

DTC e-commerce is the practice of bringing products, goods, or services directly to the customer without the red tape and intermediaries. Digitization helps the modern supply chain by automating different functions for business owners. This concept can be made more accessible by using a digital freight network that eliminates the stresses caused by the back-office backlog. This is due in part so DTC retailers and vendors can continue to focus on what matters: building their brand and connecting with customers, according to McKinsey & Company

Potential Disruptions and Issues That Come With Poor Shipping Management Within the E-Commerce Industry

DTC e-commerce logistics do not come without risks. Missed deadlines, damaged goods, higher fees or surcharges, increased dwell time, more deadhead and dead haul miles, or decline are just some of the potential risks of poor shipping management. Damaged goods can lead to missed deadlines and adverse experiences with customers and can lead to customer dissatisfaction. More deadhead and dead haul miles mean missed opportunities and empty trailers. Some ways to combat this include using a digital freight forwarder to coordinate these steps and keeping preventable profit losses from happening with real-time status updates. The shipping risks in freight forwarding remain, although freight forwarding decreases the likelihood of these events happening. The DTC e-commerce industry evolves each year, and with the growing demand, freight forwarding can offset the issues that may arise. 

How DTC E-Commerce Helps Streamline Shipping and Transportation Amenities With Freight Forwarding Services 

There are several ways DTC e-commerce helps streamline shipping and other amenities. First, the use of domestic freight forwarders assists with better communication overall. Freight forwarders can monitor real-time with on-demand tracking that makes it easier for shippers to view the process. Real-time data monitoring allows each level of the transportation process to access the data, potentially saving thousands of errors that may not have been caught otherwise. 

Freight forwarders create a deliberate strategy to ensure fulfillment for clients and their shoppers. Freight forwarders work as the intermediary and connect with vendors to ensure fulfillment. By doing so, this increases profitability by increasing on-time, in-full deliveries. Building an e-commerce strategy will increase profitability and allow businesses into this ever-increasing market. 

Maximize Growth and Tap Into the Power of Digital Freight Forwarding Today

When it comes to gauging profitability, DTC e-commerce is ready to go to the next level. Freight forwarders are changing the game when it comes to the booming e-commerce world. They maximize growth by tapping into the power of digitization and automation. This creates gains for freight forwarders, retailers, other businesses and their customers. Eliminating the excess processes via multiple channels will ensure ease within shipping. The e-commerce world can be overwhelming, and freight forwarding can put those worries to bed. Tap into the power of digital freight forwarder practices today and integrate this service to increase profitability. Sign up for Cargologik to improve your DTC e-commerce fulfillment strategy today. 

The Advantages of Using an Independent Freight Forwarder

The recent pandemic took a heavy toll on the supply chain industry, making an independent freight forwarder even more advantageous. Whether shipping domestically or internationally, the red tape can make even the easiest of processes difficult. Travel restrictions and supply-demand are increasing because of hoarding throughout the pandemic. That further shows how far too often, shippers have been plagued with bureaucratic messes ranging from difficulty moving freight across borders or trying to figure out what customers want in advance. 

A lack of data leads to problems, and these obstacles lead to profit loss. Working with an independent freight forwarder and digitizing the freight network can help. And this, along with many other functions, proves that using an independent freight forwarder is valuable and critical for success. It’s also important to understand a few things about the advantages of using an independent forwarding service.

What an Independent Freight Forwarder Does for the Modern Supply Chain

Often shippers find themselves confused if they do not have experience shipping domestically or internationally. Many of today’s top forward-thinking e-commerce brands also were once startups, with no dedicated logistics units to handle their shipping needs. And we all know how important transparency and “2-day shipping,” is today in the age of the modern consumer.

The independent freight forwarder arranges those imports and exports and manages the execution of delivering that shipment on-time, on-budget, and in-line with their shipper’s expectations. 

If shippers opt-out of these services, it could lead to potential shortcomings, such as profit-loss or delays in shipping due to back-office oversight and often lack of network and experience that comes with operating in the industry.  Inexperienced shippers will likely have more issues without a freight forwarder than with one. Shippers must have great freight forwarders, 3pl’s, and other logistics partners to help them effectively navigate all volatility with technology, making them even more unstoppable in the supply chain industry.  

Why the Demand for Freight Forwarding Has Increased Over the Last Few Years

Large, global supply chains have increased exponentially in the last decade. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, e-commerce continues to grow past forecasting demands. 

An independent freight forwarder offers valuable and much-needed help to navigate all of this demand for businesses. They are key to ensuring that business, manufacturers importers, exporters, and other entities have enough product on-hand and scheduled to be on hand in order to fulfill their own business obligations, goods, and services. 

Overall, the need for freight forwarding has increased in recent years as society launches into a brand-new era of rapidly advancing technology development. From increased consumer demands, global disruptions like the pandemic, and market trends affecting the demand, independent freight forwarders are more vital than ever. Larger players are often inundated with business demand, their customer service teams, account managers, and back-office workers are mired in work.  It’s the independent player who can step in and deliver in tough scenarios, offering specialized service and expertise to help you not only get a great rate, but get your cargo delivered with exceptional care and more timely support.

Digital freight networks are evolving rapidly too as a result of advancements in web-based technology, new data services and modern tools have added new capabilities to exceed customer expectations and transparency demands. They make predictive planning easier to navigate with automation and the ability to view data in real-time with smart, always-on digital assistants. Freight forwarders combine these new technologies with their services and advise their customer base, from shipment operation start to finish. 

Tapping Into the Benefits of Using an Independent Freight Forwarder

The benefits of using an independent freight forwarder do not stop at convenience. There are many added benefits to freight forwarding. They continue to acclimate to their circumstances and move in-line with customer expectations and rapid advancement up the human technological curve. 

Before operational disruption strikes, the shipping market regularly faces an often brutal cycle of increased and decreased demands that need to be navigated, according to Supply Chain 24/7. The sudden need to restructure shipping processes to accommodate the changes will inevitably cause significant delays. With freight forwarding, shippers can sleep well, knowing they are taken care of with these top benefits, including: 

  • Adaptability. Independent forwarders have a more excellent range of adaptability and are more likely to work with regional and non-traditional transportation service providers. In turn, this level of independence helps to enable faster and more affordable shipping. 
  • Scalability. Like adaptability, independent forwarders help shippers scale volume commitments to promote increased throughput. That helps to reduce the overall impact of rates across businesses of all sizes. Often the systems they use scale with them, and ideally in a usage-based variable model that considers tough margins within the industry.
  • Visibility. Independent freight forwarding uses technology, such as automated systems, digital platforms, or cloud-based systems, to improve their processes and keep shippers informed from start to finish. By staying independent, they are more motivated to provide better visibility into all operations. 
  • Affordability. Independent forwarders can reduce cost-guzzling issues like delays at ports or cross-border by building out more relationships with local organizations, including customs officials, to help streamline shipment execution and manage the growing costs of e-commerce logistics.

Partner With the Best Freight Forwarding Tracking System Provider to Ensure Continued Growth

The best thing businesses can do for themselves would be to choose to work with a mix of traditional and independent freight forwarder partners. For these entities, partnering with the best freight forwarding systems provider will ensure stable relationships with their shippers and carriers alike. Independent forwarders and brokers should start by recognizing their value and eliminating rework by using these platforms. Sign up for Cargologik to get started today and upload your first 10 MBLs for automated tracking and sharing with your customer, for free.

What Is a Digital Freight Network and Its Benefits

Technology can at times appear to be the enemy that threatens to take away jobs and change the transportation and shipping industry. This is something on the mind of many international forwarders and brokers around the world as they question, and fortify, their business. They’re worried about existing competitors, newer tech-enabled marketplaces, and rapid development in corresponding web services and web tools making things better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. It’s no wonder why the independent forwarder is always seeking to enhance their capabilities and differentiate.

However, the rise of the digital freight network is not an enemy to be feared. Instead, it needs acceptance. It needs acceptance and a few, brave organizations willing to do the hard things it takes to not only accept but capitalize on such technology. Digitizing the network does not mean the replacement of humans but rather the improvement of day-to-day activities carried out by human workers. As we at Cargologik like to say, giving your logistics teams superpowers.

Forwarders need to embrace the idea of combining human ingenuity and passion with the predictability and performance of the technology. If anything has been shown over the last year, the shipping industry needs to stay competitive and up-to-date with its services and methodology to maintain the competitive advantage in today’s market. That is what the digital freight network has to offer and why new providers should be more strict with their network requirements, investments, and take a second look at their freight networks. 

Defining a Digital Freight Network

This new and innovative approach to the supply chain network combines the services of an open and interconnected freight marketplace with the modern advancements of machine learning, automation, and data analysis. The ultimate goal remains to efficiently connect shippers and carriers to address issues affecting global supply chain logistics. From deadhead miles to inefficiency loading and unloading processes, changes and improvements stay essential, starting with a technological foundation. 

Traditionally, these organizations have been around for quite some time. Often requiring an expensive and sometimes cost-prohibitive annual membership fee that is just too much for some of the more independent players out there.  They require in-person meetings, and associated travel and transportation costs to get there, on a regular basis.  There will likely be some great discounts and incentives to work with one another, but all of that hard work usually set up by the organizing body. 

Historically, a ton of manual work is involved getting these infrastructures and up and running. Fast forward to modern times, this simply is not the case anymore.  We’re still fans and believe in the human-to-human connection, but being able to do so without the inefficiencies is a characterization of modern times and in this case, also the shift in more analog-driven networks to ones built atop of technology first and foremost, that complement the human aspect of our interactions.

These digitally based freight networks use machine learning and automation to handle the growing and shifting demands of the market. The overall flywheel effect benefits all involved parties because more freight carriers join the network, and more opportunities for automation and networking arise. All of this leads to performance enhancements and increased profits. That is the power of the digital network.

How a Digital Freight Matching Continues to Add Value

Several benefits come with embracing digital freight platforms and matching dashboards. The greatest of these is the potential savings it can bring to the entire supply chain network. 

According to Material Handling & Logistics, digital freight networks and platforms work to significantly reduce and even eliminate the need for the drawn-out processes of dealing with middlemen and multiple 3PLs. Forwarders and carriers can lose as much as 45% of the delivery cost per load to fees imposed upon them by brokers and other vendors and partners. In a crowded market, that 45% can feel significantly more impactful.

When it is taken into account that American freight truckers travel empty for 50 billion miles, or nearly 30% of their total mileage, it is also obvious how huge these savings can become. Drivers can benefit as these digital platforms and freight forwarding systems can provide end-to-end visibility that allows a trucker to know the details of every load they are taking.  The value provided by embracing technology and implementing digital processes remains clear and fuels the growth and acceptance of the digital freight network platform. 

Other Top Benefits of a Digital Network

Several other benefits arise when digital network integration is embraced and used in day-to-day operations. Some of the most impactful include:

  • Scalability and adaptability to adjust to changing markets.
  • Better cybersecurity and enhanced safety protocols.
  • Increased acceptance rates and fewer delivery disruptions. 
  • Carrier diversity to improve capacity opportunities and delivery options.
  • Competition among carriers to help drives competitive rates.
  • The reduced overall risk thanks to tracking and monitoring systems.
  • Better On-Time-In-Full deliveries with improved customer satisfaction.
  • Streamlined communications enable faster response to disruptions.
  • End-to-End visibility throughout the entire network.
  • Improved adherence to shipping and forwarding regulations.

These are just a few of the most impactful and expected benefits seen by freight managers who embrace the idea of a digital freight network and implement it within their supply chain platform. 

Put the Power of Digital Network to Work by Choosing the Right Freight Forwarding Platform

Finding the right digital freight network remains one of the most critical steps for the modern-day supply chain management team. The power of digital automation and real-time data analysis and application is changing the way the freight forwarding industry works. Harnessing the power and potential of a digital network remains critical for continued growth and success. 

Find the right freight forwarding and management platform, at the right time,  by embracing collaboration and technology today. To get started tracking and sharing your first 10 shipments free, and to start building a more loyal customer base, sign up for Cargologik today.

How Freight Forwarder Networks Are Navigating Volatility With Technology

Freight forwarder networks work as connected systems that help supply chains manage vital functions, such as:

  • Logistics monitoring.
  • Customs brokerage.
  • Predictive planning.
  • Capacity procurement. 

Those are just a few things among many other essential services. During volatile markets, implementing new technologies might not seem like a priority on the to-do list for many companies. Time and time again, the freight forwarder networks that demonstrate technological prowess can more easily maintain a competitive advantage during times of market volatility. 

Let’s take a closer look at how freight forwarders can apply technology to reduce the impact of market volatility.

Freight Forwarder Networks Are Collaborating in Real-Time

Any successful freight forwarder needs a well-rounded freight forwarding tech stack as part of its supply chain setup. A tech stack, for those that are unaware, refers to the different types of technologies linked together used to effectively run your business and maintain optimal customer relationships. This includes things that should be integrated and used daily by your team. These are systems like the CRM, ERP, TMS, WMS, on top of a freight forwarding system, that come together to support commercial operations.

Real-time data analysis and tracking make it easier to streamline the processes and keep the freight forwarding networks running smoothly. As more and more microservices, APIs, and data feed from liners and logistics companies take hold, having systems in place to make sense of that data and applicable to your business are key.

According to Supply Chain Brain, it will play an essential role in long-term growth and success. This will require the onboarding of new technology, digital tools, and automated services that focus on real-time data sharing and collaborations.

Increased Digital Transformation Allows for Instant Quoting and Booking

The art of predictive analytics and forecasting has a tremendous impact on local and global freight forwarding networks of all sizes. Digitization makes it easier for all involved parties to embrace tracking and logistics management while accessing accurate and up-to-date data anytime and anywhere. 

According to Logistics Management, before shippers can successfully place bids and secure capacity, they must understand and embrace the current challenges confronting carriers, too. That amounts to using data to offer instant bidding, quoting, and booking processes. Working through these tough, preliminary operations to even present data and options to customers is time-consuming and challenging – and even more so the smaller that your organization is.

To ignore and reject this technology is to close the door to the future growth potential that comes with enhanced collaboration.

Increased Accountability and Transparency Leads to Fewer Lost Shipments

Whether by land, sea, or air, old, outdated processes for tracking shipments prove ineffective and often result in deal-breakers costing you valuable business. Such issues can hold companies back and prevent growth and success in today’s market. 

Simply providing a text message update simply won’t do anymore either with rising shipper expectations. The shipper wants automated, selected, timely information delivered to them, in a user-friendly way, and done so on instantaneous terms like SMS.  Using simple track and trace websites won’t cut it anymore, and data is now required from multiple sources to help drive LSP’s make the best cargo movement decisions on behalf of their customers.

Freight forwarder networks are discovering firsthand the benefits of accountability and transparency. With real-time tracking and monitoring systems, drivers are held to a much higher level of responsibility, cargo flows more smoothly, and with better on-time and budget delivery.

Shippers can rest assured that issues are addressed and reported to consumers immediately. That reduces the risk of upsetting clients. Meanwhile, improved data-driven technology and automation begets end-to-end communication and transparency within the supply chain. Couple this automation with user-friendly alerts, emails, and similar notifications also allow for much effective, and immediate, collaboration between both parties especially when critical.  As such, e-commerce shipping and logistics, where the stakeholders are in the know,  run far more effectively.

More Data Amounts to Increased Optimization of Carrier Contracts and Procurement

Over the years, freight transportation and cargo shipment have seen an influx of technologies focusing on improving optimization and boosting capacity procurement. These solutions are also working on behalf of the forwarder, as well as the shipper. 

Additionally, as reliance on technology and innovation continues, freight and logistics managers should start to see wider acceptance across the board, and across a more wide variety of companies from small all the way up to large enterprises. Tech is the way of the future and for the modern freight forwarder networks to survive the current state of market volatility. and to offer members a more robust set of solutions beyond the standard quarterly meetings and insurance benefits, and business profiles that these networks need to maintain.

Unfortunately, future disruptions and that reliance on automation and digitization will only continue to grow in tandem. Optimization, contract booking, and capacity rates remain intimately connected to technology, data use, and optimization within the supply chain. And that includes knowing when to expand the carrier network and when to leave some partnerships for more lucrative opportunities.

Technology Further Enables Forecasting to Pre-Empt Market Fluctuations

Using technology promotes increased freight market risk mitigation through the use of data and forecasting. Freight forecasting applies an array of analytics to enable preventive planning and more accurate market predictions. That may include rate predictions, capacity volume changes, and more. 

The best systems also convey this information at the right time, and the right place, and to the concerned parties within the supply chain working on that particular shipment. They’re able to use a combination of notifications, emails, and messages to provide relevant key details to each party, based on the specific role they play in the shipment’s supply chain.

Leverage the Right Freight Forwarder Network Partnership to Thrive Through Volatile Markets

As shippers and carriers work to position themselves in as competitive a position as possible, they will continue to face troubles and volatility. This is the nature of the business, and why the best advisors and logistics service providers not only succeed but do so while differentiating and building customer loyalty. That loyalty, in turn fortifies the business and enables re-investment in upgrading, updating, and integrating different software in the forwarder’s technology stack, which then also drives an ever-expanding, and more loyal, customer base.

It is especially in these times of market disruption, the task becomes to weather current problems and plan for future disruptions. Establishing a solid freight forwarder network partnership can make it easier to endure the low trends and maximize profits from the high trends. Companies that provide specific solutions for common issues will more easily retain customers.  

Surviving times of volatility and uncertainty relies on solid and beneficial partnerships that apply technology in the freight forwarding network to enable both domestic and global growth. Sign up for Cargologik to start navigating market volatility with data and quality software today for free on your first ten MBLs as you test out the system.

How to Enhance Collaboration by Digitizing Your Freight Network

Supply chain collaboration promotes increased throughput and execution of freight on a global scale, which increasingly grows more complex as ecommerce logistics’ importance swells. 

As noted by Supply Chain Game Changer, “Collaboration between companies – joint initiatives that go beyond their normal course of day-to-day business, with the aim of delivering significant improvement over the long term. With pricing under pressure from recession-scarred consumers, the temptation for retailers is to transfer the pain upstream to their suppliers by passing on price reductions and forcing them to bear an increasing share of costs.” 

Therefore, today’s freight forwarders need to know a few things about how to properly digitize the freight network to promote such collaboration.

Eliminate Inconsistency With Digital Workflow Management

A lack of process and workflow standardization is perhaps the biggest hurdle to supply chain collaboration. Without a clear, concise workflow, mistakes can and do happen.

Digital workflow management applies intuitive systems to ensure all processes are executed properly based on the type of shipment, its origin and destination data, and delivery expectations. The best tools out there are also providing “digital assistants,” (remember clippy?) and indicators to call your attention to specific operations.

Moreover, this concept further reduces the risk of errors in executing shipments and streamlines throughput, increasing fundamental value along the way – and on both sides of the equation, shipper and forwarder.

Bundle Data Repositories to Build the Most Comprehensive View of the Transportation Network

Another critical step to creating a digital freight network rests with a bundled data repository to visualize and track activities within the network. Instead of more eyes, looking everywhere, on behalf of their customers, think more strategically focused eyes, looking exactly where they need to, and advising their customers.  This is the ultimate value – not just providing great  customer service but a world-class, differentiating experience where you become a critical part of that loyal customers’ business.

This focus and leverage has a major advantage for organizations that wish to learn more about how to do more with less. Gain insights into personal performance, glean insights, forge new best practices, and recognize exceptional employees. These are how great organizations are created.

Furthermore, these networks combined with data analytics, create an environment where today’s forwarders can isolate vulnerabilities, use data to negotiate contracts and still find other opportunities to improve. This includes using devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) to track real-time status updates, operator patterns, and avoid problems. 

Automate Exception Management to Reduce Rework and Redundancy

The need to handle problems is exception management, but there is a fine line between managing by exception and micromanaging every shipment across the freight network. With the scale and volume demands of e-commerce, management by exception, intervening only when absolutely necessary, is the way to go. Otherwise, you’re going to be drowning in data, and often, much of it not relevant or useful within your operational workflows.

Thus, automating this process applies algorithms and rulesets to handle the usual needs and common issues that arise, saving time and resources. In turn, that helps digital freight forwarders leverage the full scale of the freight network to share inventory and transportation data in real-time.

The result? Your commercial teams are better prioritizing their day, focusing on high-value activities, and management being able to operate more strategically. Clients get a better transparency, heads-up guidance, and then devote more spend and resources to that forwarder who went above and beyond for their own business.

Simplify Carrier Communications With Web-Based Portals

The next step to digitizing the freight network focuses on streamlining carrier and broker interactions. Using web-based portals, today’s freight forwarders could give these other parties access to request forwarding services and effectively turn a back-office process into a simple execution. 

As such, your team can focus on building more value by reducing delays and increasing throughput. More throughput, more revenue. Additionally, web-based tracking capabilities and interactions can further be applied to track the bidirectional flow of goods, i.e., returns, to ensure adequate capacity for peaks and lulls throughout the year. 

And yet, that’s not the only way of the freight forwarding system use cases—enabling digital quoting and booking while meeting customer demand and expectations. And doing so even as those demands or expectations rapidly evolve and change, from shipment to shipment as well as “with the times,” as dictated by the Amazon Effect.

Unlock More Success With a Digital Freight Network and Advanced Forwarding Platform

Today’s supply chain professionals are busier than ever, and any delay or hiccup could result in a massive upset to the customer experience. That’s especially true in light of the continued growth of e-commerce and the ever-present risk of Amazon. 

Fortunately, freight forwarders that apply technology as above and put the right systems of record in place can avoid those risks throughout the freight network. To get started tracking and sharing your first 10 shipments free, and to start building a more loyal customer base, sign up for Cargologik today.

Digital Freight Networks: Then and Now

Digital freight networks represent the modern-day approach to forwarding systems and services.  These networks are primarily built on good old-fashioned business development and a model that’s built to accommodate all the members with certain benefits, guarantees, rates, favorable premiums, and the ability to meet and ultimately conduct business together.  This model has been around for some time.

Fast forward to today, these organizations have advanced and now are starting to embrace contemporary and innovative technology, real-time data, and a network of carriers and shippers to improve the scope and reach of the freight industry. It’s a rapidly evolving landscape of these groups, each aiming to grow their base through leveraging the above technologies as well.

According to Supply Chain 24/7, digital freight platforms and innovations are changing the way the industry approaches virtual shopping and the e-commerce trends of today. Unlike traditional processes that focused primarily on just transportation management, digital freight networks focus on improving operational performance by using ground-breaking services to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of the virtually focused market.  Some of the most effective ways the freight transportation booking process has changed over the decades include the following.

Traditional Networks Relied on Manual Quoting Processes

One of the first ways the traditional freight network was working on outdated processes was securing shipping and carrier agreements. Introductions between the parties also needed to be facilitated, in-person and digitally. Manual quoting was tedious and time-consuming, forcing managers to work one bid at a time – and for many independent players from around the globe, still prevalent even today. 

This approach while “service-oriented,” has become redundant, and very inefficient, leading to decreased productivity among the folks that should be doing the opposite.  That is especially the case compared to today’s digital dashboards and online platforms that focus on meeting market regulations and demands.

Digital Freight Networks Leverage Automation for Instant Quoting

On the flip side, the few modern networks out there operate with more forward-thinking tools that are a step in the right direction. For the networks with larger budgets and formalized tech teams (and often 1000s of members), you can find a more complete acceptance of digitization and automation.  

Near-instant quoting and automated platform updates and communications allow for multiple bid submissions and streamlined management protocols. This shift alone significantly improves capacity and response time, setting the stage for better adaptability to the current e-commerce craze – and keeping up with those mounting, global customer expectations.

Traditional Networks Ran Until Things Broke, With Zero Predictive Planning

The digital freight networks of today operate on the idea of proactive planning and operations. Years ago, this was not the case, and systems forwarders used, deployed, or invested in, often self-sabotaged organizations and ran these operations into the ground regularly.  As IT, cybersecurity risks, physical risks, and equipment maintenance costs increased, these systems also quickly lost flexibility. And unfortunately, while being maybe a little too dependent on them. 

Rather than shutting down for routine maintenance that took a few hours, systems and equipment got pushed to the point of critical failures that could take days to repair. IT budgets and staff increased but still to little avail. This approach was a disaster waiting to happen in many cases, creating delays almost around the clock.

This is not the case anymore, with modern, web-based applications and powerful software that is optimized for mobile-first, easy-to-use saas, and all while functioning on 3G connections and in harsh environments. Now, platforms have capabilities that are “more predictive” than ever and armed with commercial intelligence that can help independent LSP’s differentiate and win more loyal business through proactive management and true service.

Modern Networks Use Data Analytics to Maximize Equipment Runtime and Longevity

Modern examples of the most successful digital freight networks show how vital data analytics and predictive planning and repairs become. With the focus on e-commerce, virtual orders and shipments, along with the demand for fast and reliable shipping, it is more important than ever for freight forwarders to keep the network up and running. Customers demand this and they’ve often experienced firsthand the beautiful Amazon timelines, DHL tracking numbers, and other global forwarding platforms and features once reserved for the largest tech teams and budgets. 

This is not the case anymore. New APIs, cutting-edge databases, access to real-time data and technology keep the digital freight networks fully operational and avoid delays due to equipment failure. 

Traditional Networks Had Hidden Costs Through Increased Inefficiencies

Without real-time data, state-of-the-art tracking systems, and automated communications, traditional networks continually struggle with expenses, fees, and operational costs. Technical debt is a common term in the software world, which basically refers to the exponential workload required to “modernize” and bring dated systems up to speed. Software is like gardening and must consistently evolve and keep pace with new technologies and expectations. The older the language that the original platform was coded in, the harder and more costly it will be to adapt to today’s age.

As a result, freight forwarders constantly struggled to balance revenues and costs to eke out what profits that they could. What worked for years before was no longer proving effective in the modern age of e-commerce. The “ain’t broke don’t fix it,” mantra no longer applies anymore – and even when it comes to a slow-moving, legacy industry like supply chain, logistics, and shipping.

Modern, Digital Capabilities Allow for Total Landed Cost Projects at the Moment of Inception

Current trends and processes also make it possible for freight forwarders and logistics managers to maximize profits as soon as a request for a quote arrives. Many forwarders are still shooting in the dark when it comes to profits, unsure really if that next load or shipment is going to help or hurt their organization’s chances of success.

Securing capacity, maximizing loads, improving rates, and streamlining the bidding processes allow for better cost management and less time wasted, which is increasingly valuable the smaller and more independent you are as a logistics service provider.

Thus, embracing modern advances and modernizations is the way that provides digital freight networks with a significant advantage in domestic and international markets. 

Realize the Efficiency Gains With an Advanced Freight Forwarder Platform Today

Maximizing profits and ROIs is critical for survival in the modern freight forwarding industry. Digital freight networks are becoming the new normal and represent current market trends among shippers, forwarders, and consumers alike. 

Utilizing the networks, leveraging the right customer-facing tools and platforms is critical for continued growth and success in these complex and challenging times. It’s what builds loyalty in today’s economy and drives revenue from repeat clients – in an ever-competitive and rapidly commoditizing space for the undiversified forwarder or broker.

Last, E-commerce has forever changed the way people approach shopping, and shippers and forwarders alike must adjust and adapt to remain relevant in the modern-day market. Managing a strong forwarding system and a collaborative network remains critical for the network today. Sign up for Cargologik today to learn more about the world’s “digital-first” global freight network in the making.