- DHL announced Thursday it had created a new digital freight platform, CILLOX, which links shippers and carriers within Germany and Europe, according to a press release.
- CILLOX offers shippers a digital transporter search and quote service, online contracting and secure payment, and real time alerts for shipments, according to the website.
- DHL executive and CILLOX CEO Amadou Diallo notes the move is an attempt to "accelerate the digitization" of the logistics industry, and "shake up the freight forwarding business," as digital transformation benefits all parties.
Although only available in Europe, DHL's new freight platform reveals a growing trend throughout the industry. Logistics providers at all ends of the spectrum are entering into the freight forwarding business as they seek to expand their services, retain business and — at least in the case of DHL — disrupt its competitors.
In fact, as parcel delivery providers and e-commerce fulfillment companies are buoyed by the rise of e-commerce, they are using the increased revenues to cement their foothold on both business-to-business and direct-to-consumer services.
Maersk Line, for example, recently partnered with Alibaba to help shippers digitally reserve slots on its vessels and improve utilization. And FedEx touts its full supply chain services as a strong point that will help it weather competitive forces and low rates in any one sector. Even Uber has entered the field with its new Uber Freight program.
The main question that arises, then, is whether the freight forwarder will survive a new wave of competition? Probably, but the forwarder will have to embrace the new technology before it is crowded out by other services. Digitization is historically unforgiving to slow adapters, and with major companies like DHL jumping on the disruption bandwagon, disruption seems imminent.