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Samskip has launched an online booking platform for reefer shippers, digitising an “under-served” segment of the freight market.

Its global forwarding portal, mySamskipLogistics, went live this week, allowing customers to make freight bookings online and access track and trace information.

Martijn Tasma, director of global forwarding, said: “While common to retail-based logistics, other parts of the supply chain have not been so well-served by digitalisation.

“Logistics is a 24/7 business where customers are entitled to expect up-to-date information on shipment status at all times, and mySamskipLogistics makes the gains of digitalisation available to shippers not previously able to secure them in fast-paced segments such as seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables.”

The portal is linked to the Inttra open trade platform, so vessel departures by Inttra carriers are automatically captured, and Samskip’s future plans include connecting freight status information with cold storage warehouses.

“Forwarding is as much about data management and providing customers with information as it is about managing physical assets,” added Mr Tasma. “It does not replace direct client contact, but supply chain frontrunners today build a lead by data management and data sharing.”

Mr Tasma told The Loadstar the data management side of mySamskipLogistics opened up opportunities for utilising artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“We are in the process, with customers in the seafood industry, of reviewing their supply chains and finding ways to implement machine learning to make their processes more efficient,” he explained.

Meanwhile, with “recession-proof” refrigerated cargo continuing to outperform dry trades, Mr Tasma confirmed the continuing global shortage of containers was impacting the industry.

“The Covid crisis has had a big impact on the availability of equipment and capacity onboard vessels. As a freight forwarder, the relationship with your customers and carriers has to be strong to stay strong in these challenging times.”

As well as logistics, the multimodal carrier offers shortsea, barge, rail and road transport across Europe, Asia and the Americas, moving around 800,000 teu each year.

The Netherlands-UK tradelane is Samskip’s core market, however, and in August the company reinstated its direct container service between Amsterdam and Hull, with a new rail service between Amsterdam and Duisburg providing supply chain opportunities for UK importers doing business with China.

Samskip is also gearing up for more seafood trade with Asia via its Rotterdam hub, according to business development manager Peter van der Woude. He said near-term Samskip would have enough seafood coming into Rotterdam to start building “significant” NVOCC business for Asian importers, with mackerel, cod and haddock all growth targets.

“Of course we are already active and buy freight capacity from the deepsea lines, but we are also convinced that now is the moment for Samskip to secure a sizeable chunk of the logistics services business flowing from Norway,” he added.

Mr van der Woude said Samskip Logistics might also enter the spot market, where “being active is not only an entry point for Far East imports, but a way of hanging on to business from traders whose heads can be turned by favourable day rates.”

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