The freight industry is one of the largest and most important industries in the world. With 150 million containers shipped annually around the globe, it acts as the lifeblood circulation for the economy. But despite the industry’s size and importance, the commercial aspect of this business still runs in traditional ways – offline and manual.
There are many startups who try to revolutionize the ‘ancient’ industry. Business models like ‘freight marketplace’ and ‘digital freight forwarder’ are funded with millions of dollars. The frequently asked question is whether the freight forwarders be replaced with these online services in near future or not.
Comparing forwarding business with other industries, which have recently been ‘Uberized’ or digitized, its worth to mention that forwarding is much more complex than hotel booking or an airline ticket purchasing process. Imagine, if every hotel would also be in charge of arranging visas, helping with immigration controls, security checks and taxi rides for every single tourist globally — would it still be so easy to book a hotel online with a couple of clicks?
Nevertheless, the technology which helps streamline complex logistics processes is already there: electronic communication, big data analysis, transport management systems, etc.
Early adopters are already enjoying the benefits: becoming faster, more flexible and cost-efficient. There is a visible pressure from the digitized forwarders towards their traditional competitors. It’s becoming obvious, that a “regular” forwarder will soon need to find ways to be on par with the digital world.
Container shipping is one of the least digitized segments of all transport services. Managing sea freight contracts is a well known technical challenge, which keeps some freight forwarders stuck in the pre-technological era.
Marcin Zarzecki, CEO of Quotiss says:
“Complex rate contracts, massive spreadsheets, hundreds of emails and PDFs bring frustration to industry players, consume massive resources and destroys business efficiency. No one has found a sustainable solution. Until Quotiss.”
Quotiss has united a team of industry professionals and became a successful startup supported by Techstars Ventures and Google for Entrepreneurs. They managed to solve the problem of complex rate sheets and decode the rates. A smart algorithm, which translates the longest contracts into a simple one-liner, has become the backbone of the Quotiss software.
Once the carriers’ contracts are simplified and uploaded into the system, the quoting process becomes fully automated. With all the freight rates, local charges and quotes being stored on one platform, freight forwarders can have full transparency into their commercial activities: rates procurement, profitability, the efficiency of sales teams. All data is stored in one place, no more searching through multiple folders and emails.
“Modern technology used to be available only for the big players with massive resources. But this is changing. Medium and small-sized forwarders start adopting instruments like Quotiss and, thus, learn to compete with efficiency and not just the rate.” – says Eugene Reznikov, Quotiss Hong Kong.