Buzzword or not, the “e-commerce revolution” has reshaped not only the air cargo logistics chain but the overall retail market, on a global scale. With the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon in the United States, and Alibaba and JD.com in China, the need for e-commerce shipments to move across the globe in only a matter of days is increasingly driving growth in demand for airfreight.
E-booking brings transparency to cargo
One of the most basic changes e-commerce has made to the air cargo industry has been the migration of services to online portals. While there are dozens of examples, one of the most recent has been the collaboration between Freightos and Lufthansa.
In an effort to hasten the digitalization of the airfreight industry, online cargo marketplace Freightos has teamed up with Lufthansa Cargo to create a new online portal through which forwarders can compare rates and book air cargo space nearly instantly.
By combining Freightos WebCargo and Lufthansa Cargo’s application programming interface (API) services, forwarders can instantly look up contracted rates, assess capacity and book cargo on specific flights in real time.
The new system, rolled out in July, can save money and time, Freightos said, considering that e-commerce sales helped lift airfreight demand by 9 percent in 2017. At that time, the company said, “manual airfreight management and sales continued to cost the industry billions annually in changing fees, untapped capacity and manual labor.”
The platform enables hundreds of forwarders to access accurate, calculated prices and book capacity within one portal, Freightos said. Lufthansa Cargo’s main contribution was the application of APIs, which combine Freightos’ pricing database with the instant ability to find capacity and book it. If capacity is unavailable, the companies said, the system can be switched to support manual, online ad-hoc pricing.
With the new e-booking system, Lufthansa Cargo and Freightos said they can now enable customers to view their contracted price and secure airfreight capacity instantly. As their customer, Dirk Schneider, global airfreight director of Röhlig Logistics, explained via a statement, “The new functionality enables rapid quoting and booking of our shipments. Röhlig Logistics customers benefit as one of the first through improved information flow and handling of their consignments. We are happy that we joined the pilot and look forward to extending this service further within our network.”
The platform will be expanded globally in coming months, beginning with a rollout in major European markets, Freightos added.