The necessity for the world to be one big global village calls for the urgent need for freight forwarders to move ahead with time and acknowledge the presence and importance of digitization. While all businesses are going the digi-way, the freight forwarding industry still finds itself divided between the traditional freight forwarders and the new-age online freight forwarders. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Let’s find out.
When asked about the preferences between the traditional and online freight forwarders, 68 per cent of the respondents supported traditional freight forwarders’ relevance in today’s market. However, 92 per cent of the respondents also showed an inclination towards a preference for digitization. Therefore it almost seems imperative that digitization is the way to go to improve operations and functionality of freight forwarding businesses. Let us look at some of the ways in which online freight forwarding gets the upper edge over traditional freight forwarding.
A traditional forwarder’s website mainly represents about the company, contact details, and clients with few additional information which could be related to news/HR or any other relevant topics. Traditionally, forwarders are dependent on manual activities to provide services while on the other end, online forwarding websites are the portals to provide the entire gamut of services from booking, documentation to tracking and delivery through one single platform which is their website. Here, the website portal is one single point of contact which digitally provides all the services and activities that go on as per schedule with live updates on the platform.
Traditional freight forwarders, as compared to the online freight forwarders, are known to take a much longer time to produce relevant results of queries put forward by the shipper, since mostly they have a manual intervention at each stage. The more advanced online freight forwarders on the other hand, are proving to be much more beneficial to the customer by providing results including quotes, multiple comparable vessel options, available days of shipment dispatch, timelines and much more on click of a button. Moreover, online freight forwarding business model presents the shipper with a plethora of options to make the best-suited pick from for their own shipment requirements.
Gone are the days when one would have to wait forever to get an update on their shipment. With things going online, it is now possible to track your package as it makes its journey from one port to another. Moreover, a few online freight forwarders have also launched a track and trace facility that offers transparency in processes. This is however a very new feature and is available only with a few online freight forwarders.
Most of the resistance faced by the e-way has been the understanding of a lack of human touch. Several freight forwarders following the traditional means are under the impression that the online method lacks human touch and is run completely with the control of technology, computer machines and internet, which however is untrue. Online freight forwarders too have a team of experts managing and tracking each shipment, ready to step up and tackle any and all obstacles that crop up. It is thus now only a matter of time before digitization is completely embraced by the industry.