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Portal provides freight forwarder alternative

By control on October 18, 2011

Dutch logistics experts have launched an online portal that allows companies to schedule shipments without the use of freight forwarders. Dubbed Aircargoshop, the portal is currently limited to freight originating from the Netherlands, although founder Paul Parramore told Air Cargo World that expansion is a remote possibility.

The idea for Aircargoshop came after officials from the Dutch shippers’ council (EVO) ordered the development of a portal enabling shippers to book their own freight. Not only would such technology dramatically reduce transportation costs, they reasoned, it would also expedite the shipping process.

Two years later, their wish came to fruition. Aircargoshop, which became live in October, changes freight forwarding into a “self-service” concept, Joost van Doesburg, management consultant with EVO on air cargo, revealed to Air Cargo World. It works on a prepaid basis, he explained, and allows shippers to determine the date — and consequently, the cost — of the shipment.

“The portal will enable shippers to realize more cost- and time-efficient airfreight bookings, since the procedures will be quicker and the expedition costs will be lower,” van Doesburg said. “The shipper takes on some of the traditional forwarders’ procedures, as Aircargoshop accepts and handles only shipments of general cargo.”

Aircargoshop also responds to the changing regulations imposed by European authorities, officials from the shippers’ council said. Current laws force shippers to obtain Authorized Economic Operator status and register with Customs as international transporters. “Thus, many details are already readily available, which significantly facilitates the step toward direct booking online,” a spokesman for Aircargoshop stated.

Much of the success of the initiative centered on the expertise of Parramore, van Doesburg told Air Cargo World. “We wanted to change the air cargo world as the shippers’ council, which is why we contacted Mr. Parramore — who is active in the airfreight world — to create,” van Doesburg said.

Parramore was on board immediately. “My belief is that the whole process of booking shipments is very costly and slow,” Parramore said. Aircargoship, however, turns the entire process on its head by eliminating the middleman, he explained.

The online portal has also received the resounding approval of the Dutch shippers’ council. “We, as the shippers council, think Aircargoshop is a step forward in modernizing the air cargo world,” Parramore told Air Cargo World. “It’s also a way for logistics service providers to do business without relying on old-fashioned means.”

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