- CMA CGM signed a memorandum of understanding with Alibaba OneTouch to digitally simplify direct bookings from China to the areas around the Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea.
- In an effort to gain a greater customer base, carriers have begun offering digital access for booking and freight tracking, formerly bailiwicks of freight forwarders or other logistics providers, American Shipper reported Wednesday.
- Transport lines seeking connections with an e-commerce marketplace like Alibaba open the door for bookings by smaller shippers beyond their usual customers.
CMA CGM's deal with Alibaba follows in the footsteps of Maersk Line, which recently signed a similar deal to gain market access to the plethora of small shippers in the Chinese market, allowing them to book slots directly for Europe. In both cases, Chinese shippers are limited to select ports and routes, but it decreases the brokerage fee traditionally paid to the freight forwarder for what are often one-off shipments.
Maersk, though, is reportedly doubling down on its bid to service Chinese small-business with another partnership, started in December with Chinese internet service Cangweibao. The service allows Chinese exportesrs to book space on Maersk vessels against a deposit, according to The Star. The sellers on this site are typically smaller than those who sell on Alibaba, showing its determination to create a customer base beyond what currently exists by utilizing technology platforms of all types.
Yet, as shown by the CMA CGM-Alibaba deal, such deals are not exclusive. Cangweibao has indicated a willingness to work with any and all carriers interested in utilizing its platform, according to The Star. It would not be surprising, then, if other carriers rushed to create similar partnerships to improve utilization now two of the top three carriers have done so.