Forwarders should fight convention and embrace technology


As shippers press on with their demand for speed, transparency, and efficiency, the freight forwarding industry strives hard to find a quick enough and appropriate response. The solution to this equation lies before our eyes: Technology.

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing number of freight forwarders adopting technology. But for the most part, the industry has employed it to improve its internal processes, for the sake of the freight forwarding company itself. In comparison, shipping lines have utilized it to enhance their services. Most carriers have been able to save time and money by making their customers submit documents online.

Carriers have the advantage because they operate in a market with very little competition. Freight forwarders on the other hand, face the challenge of having to do things that help the clients rather than adopting a technology that could ease their workflow.

The reason behind the apparent reluctance to adopt technology is due to a cost versus gain issue. Certain freight forwarders find it too costly to develop online tools for their clients taking into consideration the relatively low return in potential increased business.

Some have also argued that the freight forwarder business remains very much a ‘people business.’

There’s a reluctance to replace a personal touch that’s crucial for shippers. For many of them, the personal service is important. It’s vital for them to know that there’s a human presence around they can trust and rely on to take care of their shipment and to ensure things move as smoothly as possible.

iContainers’ technological ventures in ocean freight industry has granted ease and transparency to contracting freight services. Ever since its launch in 2007, the company has aimed to eliminate the complexities and inefficiencies that characterize the traditional transport and supply chain. With its innovative advances, it has established itself as a pioneer in setting new standards in the logistics sector.

More recently, the company stepped up its efforts in its business innovation cycle with the launch of its Track & Trace and new automated notifications features.

Having more transparency in the industry would undoubtedly make it easier to actually manage shipments. One aspect I would particularly love to see is further integration to allow for simpler inventory management and space allocation so clients can better plan their loads.

Hopefully over time, the barrier between technology and freight forwarding will dissipate and a safe and beneficial fusion can emerge.

Founded in 2007, iContainers' online platform “allows users to access and compare thousands of ocean freight routes and quotes in just a matter of seconds.”

The company underlines that users can also book and manage their shipment online from start to end, as well as select different schedules and services, including door-to-door, catered to their shipping needs. iContainers offers services on over 500,000 maritime routes connecting 1,200 global destinations.