Chuyển đổi số trong các công ty giao nhận vận tải - The future belongs to digitalised freight forwarders


The year 2020 was tumultuous for the world, including the logistics industry, with its effects rippling through many sectors. However, it is in this context that technology is changing the future of freight forwarders and the broader links of supply chains worldwide.

The world of shipping and logistics industry is currently changing dramatically and companies and shippers are constantly coming up with new ways to address change. Modern advances in technology play a significant role in this change. While some of the effects can disrupt the logistics industry, over the long run they can help leverage the use of automation, workflow optimization, and artificial intelligence.

Technology  is  changing  the  future  of  freight  forwarders 

Ocean freight: Global container throughput reached approximately 775 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2020. Total container volumes handled at Chinese ports dropped by 10.1 percent in the first months of 2020. Reports showed considerable constraints to ocean freight around the world, impacting both key exporters, like Brazil, China, India, and Mexico, as well as importers like the European Union.

Air freight: Volumes fell by 19 percent in March 2020 due to a sharp reduction in passenger flights (which carry freight as belly cargo) and the drop in manufacturing in China. The overall reduction in capacity is greater than the net reduction in demand, which supports higher air freight rates.

Land freight: Unlike ocean and air transport, land transport has generally remained partially available globally as roads have remained in operation, except in countries under severe lockdowns. Trucking capacity is strained because of additional demand for their services, especially food and medical supply transportation under lockdown, combined with reduced employee availability (due to COVID-19 related restrictions), leading to higher rates.

In this context, business relationships and technology offer leeway. It takes a crisis to realize that years spent in relationship building matter a lot. Mark McCullough, CEO of Gebruder Weiss USA, similarly attests to the need for flexibility, culture, and technology. As freight forwarders begin to cautiously adopt emerging technologies, the two factors overlap in shaping the industry’s future.

Joyce Bliek, Director of Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam, underlines the importance of pursuing digital solutions for ports that want to become smarter.

Fleet management systems

Fleet Management Systems (FMS) are now a prime example of how technology is changing the future of freight forwarders. FMS software uses GPS, telematics, and other information technologies to drive fleet efficiency optimization. Through their essential features, FMS track valuable, actionable metrics and assist in crucial fleet management practices:
FMS software to help you manage your fleet is only becoming increasingly abundant as 2021 dawns and will continue to evolve to meet the industry’s demands.

Blockchain

Automation comes increased cybersecurity risk. In this regard, Blockchain technology is changing the future of freight forwarders by revolutionizing security. Through an inherent resistance to modification of its data, as well as selective access protocols, Blockchain offers new security frontiers. Through it, freight forwarders can reduce previous safety costs within reason while increasing process efficiency. Integration with existing processes continues to improve, offering more transaction verification options to shippers throughout the supply chain. This year, CMA CGM and MSC joined TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform developed by Maersk and IBM. 

Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based solutions have seen wide acceptance across industries, with such notable examples as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. While on-premise solutions remain an option, such cloud-based solutions offer a new frontier into IoT and digitization.

With smart ports already embracing such prospects, this innovative technology is changing the future of freight forwarders faced with the COVID economy. Through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a tried-and-tested technology across logistics, IoT offers effective shipment tracking across the supply chain. Similarly, mobile-friendly cloud-based solutions such as CRM lend themselves to new industry demands and enable further consolidation of information.

Ly Tu Anh (Diana Lee), CEO of American Star Group, highlighted how technology is changing the future of freight forwarders and the transportation industry.

Robotic process automation and advanced machine learning (AML)

Similarly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AML lend themselves to robotic process automation. From autonomous forklifts and warehouse automation to inventory management and chatbots for improved customer service, smart ports across the globe embrace digitization to the benefit of freight forwarders.

Simultaneously, AML offers freight forwarders a unique asset toward data analysis. Identifying patterns and forecasting continues to enhance resource utilization while tracking real-time performance provides actionable data to drive business decisions. 

Big Data consolidating international shipping services

As supply chains produce massive amounts of data, data science continues to boast demonstrable merit. Big Data is an expanding term in itself, of course, as data volumes to be processed increase. Nevertheless, it enables freight forwarders and other transportation professionals to effectively process data that humans cannot.

A digital mindset in itself can help freight forwarders achieve better results. Simultaneously, Big Data can enable massive data processing capabilities that can inform and drive other technologies such as the aforementioned. Connecting Big Data and maritime has already yielded promising results on this front.

The future belongs to digitalised forwarders

Joyce Bliek, Director of Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam, endorses digitization of ports across the globe, from Rotterdam to Singapore, continues to pave the way for robotic process automation, where humans and technology cooperate to improve operations across the supply chain. She underlines the importance of pursuing digital solutions for ports that want to become smarter.

Similarly, Ly Tu Anh (Diana Lee), CEO of American Star Group, highlighted how technology is changing the future of freight forwarders and the transportation industry. It will not be the big forwarders taking over the small forwarders in future, but the digitalised forwarders attacking the market with customer-friendly platforms that gain the business.