Freight forwarding to undergo digital change
The future will favour companies having digital dominance and digital marketing and connectivity. The freight forwarders will contribute in a big way to the success of e-commerce and online and portal-based business, experts said.
- Abigail Mathias
As with most processes in a post Covid world, Freight forwarding is going digital. In fact, digitalisation is shaking up the world of logistics, opening the doors to greater visibility, connectivity and agility. For the freight forwarding industry, the application of these new technologies has shown huge potential to simplify operations.
Freight forwarding has seen an ocean of developments over the past decade. With increasing demand for e-commerce solutions, freight forwarding combines the potencies of supply chain stakeholders to deliver seamless services. Collaboration and integration among the stakeholders, including freight forwarders, shippers, carriers, and customs authorities, will become increasingly important. Last-mile delivery (LMD) from a distribution centre to the end customer, is a critical aspect of freight forwarding. Future advancements may include the use of drones, autonomous vehicles, and robotics to make LMD efficient and cost-effective.
In the past, shipping lines have consolidated their group companies into one, thereby providing hassle-free solutions in shipping. We also saw the coming together of a couple of big lines to form into one entity, thereby getting into the space of the big wigs. This has paved the way for similar medium to big lines to contemplated merging to compete with big players.
With the availability of data, forwarders can leverage advanced analytics and predictive modelling techniques to gain valuable insights. This can help optimize routes, improve capacity planning, enhance risk management, and provide better customer service.
In this fast-moving world, several factors have affected the industry, leading to a revolution in freight forwarding such as automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and digitalisation. These will result in changing the way we are functioning in terms of skills, processes, and types of equipment we are using.
With e-commerce booming of late, it will likely be the future of retail, as the focus now is on e-commerce. I notice the efforts that all service providers are putting to channelize this avenue.
Sustainability is another keyword for the future of freight forwarding; the companies have started investing in green planes, vehicles, and vessels.
They should start considering autonomous vehicles in the land freight industry, which will lead to a need for specific skills and solve the driver shortage issue in the industry.
Generally, the complex technology impacts the cargo industry, which will improve efficiency and productivity, and it is changing the way we operate.
Another development is the objective of achieving sustainability, which leads all the companies to change their operations to be a part of this change.
It has become a privilege for the companies if they can achieve it. Also, these changes will impact talent acquisition as I believe this will create a shortage of talented skills in the market.
The future of freight forwarding is moving towards a new mode called digital freight forwarding. This mode of operation and dependency on people will move towards technology driven.
The industry will undergo a transformation from conventional to online. The existence of forwarders will depend on the adoptability towards technology and innovation. The ease of doing business (EoDB) will supersede the cost of doing.
The future will be dynamic, time-bound, and technology-enabled freight forwarding. The future will favour companies having digital dominance and digital marketing and connectivity. Forwarders will contribute in a big way to the success of e-commerce and online and portal-based business.
Drastic change post-pande mic from conventional trading to e-commerce has changed the entire course of the industry. The industry has picked up the gauntlet thrown by the e-commerce challenge to deliver goods to its final destination at a swift speed and heavy automation.
The need of the freight forwarding industry is to have an efficient and time-specific delivery for the last mile. Importance is given to the timely delivery, tracking and tracing. The forwarders need to get evolved in technology, digitalize the process and procedures. Encourage skilled team to handle the requirements of the market. Adopt the ‘new’ e-commerce with a professional approach. The benefit of digital freight forwarder is the way forward.
Freight forwarding industry has become a strategic department for the success of business in the new e-commerce world. Finally, freight forwarding must adopt to the change—’Think local, work global’.
David de Picciotto
Impact Links are the latest addition to Pledge’s sustainability tool kit for freight forwarders, which also includes its recently launched open-access freight emissions calculator. We believe that leveraging technology to make climate action more accessible is the way forward.
Our platform helps freight forwarders gain a competitive advantage by enabling their customers to take action for reducing unavoidable emissions in a way that is simple, reliable, and independently verified.
Carbon credits purchased through Impact Links are selected from one of Pledge’s offsetting portfolios.
I believe that the future of freight forwarding is dynamic and bright. Even during the pandemic, when most industries faced problems, the freight forwarding industry kept things going on. And now, after things have come back to normal, we are still moving forward. Factors such as changes in consumers’ purchasing patterns, the rise of online markets, growing international trade, contribute to the development of our industry.
One industry which is constantly evolving is the forwarding industry. Technology and e-commerce are major factors that are bringing in an evolution here. Online platforms and digital tools assist the freight forwarders to automate their work, lessen manual effort and improve overall efficiency. New technology is being utilized such as automated machines and real time tracking of shipments.
Freight forwarders simplify the logistics process for the parties concerned because of their expertise in this field. Improving trade relations with existing parties and widening their network of product supply and demand can help to better operations. Also, innovations seen in the market—automation and technology—are steps that the freight forwarder can take up so that the operations are benefited.
Although freight forwarding is perceived to be a stressful job, it can prove to be exciting if one loves challenges and has a desire to update themselves. The industry has seen highs and lows, but it has always emerged stronger.