DUBAI – Forwarders are famously circumspect, especially when it comes to altering time-proven methods. However, at this year’s Pharma and Biosciences Conference of the Cool Chain Association (CCA) and Air Cargo Handling conference, there was growing consensus here that forwarders need to work more closely with shippers to transport pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive shipments.
Achieving this goal has increasingly taken technological form, and firms such as Champ Cargosystems and Kale Logistics were on hand to promote software services to carriers and forwarders struggling to eke out profits in a tight market.
Earlier this week, Champ and cargoXS announced a deal that teams up an established provider of air cargo software with a Netherlands based startup that uses color coding to inform warehouse handlers of shipment status in real time. The partnership grants airlines access to real-time knowledge of the performance of their ground-handling partners while also allowing ground crews to commit to service-level agreements and monitor their performance in real time.
Cargospot, another Champ software product, “is a repository of information” that’s available to the various parties involved in shipping and handling freight, explained Champ’s Matt Woolmer. A lot of smaller freight forwarders don’t have the capital to invest in their own system, he said, so Champ offers a community-based product that operates on a subscription basis.
Kale Logistics is also part of the effort to connect the entire cargo community. While “IATA has been leading this, with its e-freight initiatives,” explained Kale’s director, Vineet Malhotra, the industry still has a long way to go towards implementation.
While larger shippers are generally successful at communication about cargo between forwarders and carriers, smaller companies find the costs more challenging. “We work at the lowest lever,” said Malhotra. In a lot of countries, Malhotra explained, warehouse workers still don’t have access to technology that can track and trace shipments on a mobile app, making it imperative that companies operating in the developing world can access low-tech solutions as well.
Alternatively, cargoXS’s software achieves a similar outcome with color coding, ensuring that everyone who touches a shipment is aware of its status, regardless of their tech aptitude.
Regarding Cargo-XML, Woolmer pointed out that adopting the traders’ transport messaging, “means that it becomes simpler for the trader and more complex for the regulators.” This dynamic makes it important for tech companies to work with authorities to implement whichever system works best. His company has undertaken this job in countries such as Egypt, to identify the most effective way to gather information from transport companies.
“Rather than trying to do everything ourselves, we work with others, such as pharma shippers,” Woolmer explained. Champ then reports this information to the airline and handlers. “It’s just a question of who you want the information to go to.”
Want to see more on data sharing and technology? Join us for networking and discussion of logistics innovation at Air Cargo World’s new ELEVATE 2016 Conference, Oct. 10, in Miami. Click here for details.