- Another online freight booking platform, Agree Freight, launched last week with CMA CGM as its first carrier partner, The Loadstar reported.
- The company intends to reduce freight booking time by up to 15% through its platform, which cuts out the middleman and removes unnecessary hurdles — like haggling over prices — from the process.
- While the marketplace intends to expand worldwide, to various modes and a diverse selection of carriers, price options are currently limited to Asia-Europe trade lanes.
Port delays, sudden fees and lacking visibility have shippers clamoring for transparency in the international shipping system.
One look at recent congestion in Shanghai, or a capacity crunch with Asia-Europe trade lanes, and it's easy to see why forwarders and shippers alike are unhappy. Often, carrier priorities will overshadow shipper needs, leaving goods stranded unless a premium is paid. Distrust is seeping further into the industry, and slowly creating a vicious cycle of broken promises.
A number of digital platforms have risen to address this challenge, pledging enforceable contracts, clear pricing and instant booking. The question is, will change result? Many shippers continue to rely on freight forwarders for their ability to sort through complex needs. No shipper wants to cross-reference the rates for 20 shipments in 5 markets, if a forwarder is equipped to do so.
While the concept has yet been widely adopted, such systems do point to an industry trend. Skeptics may prevail in a relationship-based industry, but the rise of such platforms indicates there is a market for greater transparency. Carriers and forwarders should take note: What is proliferating in the ocean shipping industry may catch on to other modes, as Agree has made clear it intends to.