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DHL Global Forwarding launched its myDHLi online customer platform this morning.

The platform gives users “completely transparent real-time shipment management”, including quoting, booking, emissions and tracking, while all shipment information can be followed and shared. Its key feature is simplicity, claimed the company.

DHL says it offers full visibility and control over all shipping and transport modes – although chief executive of Global Forwarding Tim Scharwath admitted that the road and rail element was not yet fully implemented – “but it is a clear strategy [to do so],” he added.

Mr Scharwarth explained that customers had outlined challenges, including a need to know in real time a shipment’s status without waiting for emailed responses, and an ability to check on particular shipments, as well as joint visibility with suppliers.

The ‘follow and share’ functions allow customers to track shipments, receive notifications, and share them, social media-style, which customers know how to use.

The platform – or ‘customer window’ – is based on the company’s CargoWise transport management system.

The push for this year will be air freight, as 97% of ocean freight is already booked online, but only about 31% of air freight. The launch begins with a pilot phase for selected customers, with a full roll-out not expected until next year, following Covid-related delays.

Mr Scharwath noted that the platform was for all sizes of customers and added that the current crisis had led to more customers booking online, as spot rates became increasingly important.

The platform appears to mark an end to the horrors of the previous, ill-fated, NFE implementation.

“Those problems are resolved; we’ve closed that chapter now,” said Mr Scharwath. “There is always a little bit of ‘hic’ and a little bit of ‘cup’ with IT, but there has been nothing that has really distracted us.”

The company, which did not disclose the amount of the investment in the system, also noted that it was not built “thinking about cost-savings”, but greater efficiencies, and  Mr Scharwath also explained that the company closely checked the rates it offered through the system.

“We log rates, and measure their success rate, and then can figure out if rates are too high, or too low. You need a rate management function, and ours is supported by AI and databases.”

The platform will eventually be rolled out to the Freight arm of the business, which is getting a new TMS.

“Despite accelerating digitalisation and super-fast connectivity, customers have a need for reduced complexity. And that is exactly what our tool does,” said Mr Scharwath. “We have created a one-stop customer portal that is tailored to the needs of our customers.

“We strongly believe that digitalisation bears the potential to ease and improve the daily business of shippers and freight forwarders simultaneously.”

The platform, which is free of charge to customers, merges existing services such as myDHLi Quote + Book and myDHLi Analytics, while adding new services and features such as myDHLi Documents, which offers access to downloadable shipment documents.

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