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It may have taken some time to get started, but the sea freight business is increasingly digitising its booking systems.
Hapag-Lloyd today announced its customers could gain automatic access to all its rates via rate management platform CargoSphere.
The news follows last week’s announcement by electronic transaction platform Inttra that it had expanded its carrier network to more than 60 with the addition of four shipping lines.
The CargoSphere platform offers digital infrastructure to establish an automated data transfer of contract and public tariff rates between a carrier, CargoSphere and the carrier customers.
Digital contract management significantly increases accuracy and reduces processing times from several days to just a few hours, according to CargoSphere.
“Eliminating the email distribution of spreadsheets and PDFs is an exciting moment for Hapag-Lloyd,” said Henning Schleyerbach, senior director sales & service processes.
CargoSphere managing director Neil Barni added: “It is fast, fully automated and ready to transform the inefficiencies that impede ocean carriers. By accelerating the conversion of ocean freight rates to a fully standardised digital environment, we are bringing to market a genuine and meaningful innovation that will move the industry forward.”
Meanwhile, Antillean Marine, Evergreen, Namsung and Unifeeder all joined Inttra’s network, which recorded 12% growth in container loads over the last 12 months.
Chief executive of Inttra, Joh Fay, said the company processed some 45m container orders on its platform in 2017. He added: “Our network growth, both in transaction volume and in participants, means we are no longer approaching the digital tipping point; the digital tipping point has arrived.”
Among its customers, Inttra boasts the 10 largest container carriers, including Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Cosco, providing access to some 200 countries.
Company president Inna Kuznetsova told The Loadstar: “Our network covers more than 90% of all global container trade capacity and accepts container booking from over 30,000 shipping companies across more than 200 countries.
“The shippers booking on Inttra today vary in size from all top 20 freight forwarders to very small customers shipping several hundred containers a year.”
Ms Kuznetsova said with “digitalisation passing the tipping point” she saw strength in the physical network of shipping partnerships being digitised and added that the company would continue to upgrade its platform with the introduction of further cloud-based solutions including enhancements to its C-Fast system, launched in December.
“C-Fast is a container forecasting and allocation optimisation solution that helps freight forwarders and NVOCCs manage their carrier volume commitments,” she said. “In 2017 we acquired Avantida, offering solutions for repositioning and better container utilisation, and expanded business successfully to more European countries.
“And of course, we continue to explore new technologies such as AI and blockchain through a variety of pilots and proofs of concept, and will announce them in due course.”