- Global supply chain operator Geodis announced the launch of a new online pricing and booking platform for shippers on March 12, targeting the air and ocean freight industries.
- The new platform is an extension of Geodis' artificial intelligence-powered Intelligent Real-Time Information System (IRIS), which tracks shipments from the moment of their booking to their destination.
- According to the press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive, IRIS will also automate "key steps" in the booking process to amplify ease of use for shippers.
"Ocean shipping has been very slow to digitize," Eric Martin-Neuville, chief operating officer for Geodis, told Supply Chain Dive, but 3PLs like Geodis are helping the industry implement technology to accelerate and streamline the ocean freight supply chain.
Ocean rates, in particular, have struggled to become fully transparent, which has been a source of contention in the industry. After the massive wave of carrier consolidation over the past two years, rates are starting to climb due to demand outstripping capacity.
Air freight has a similar problem: the industry is growing, but capacity is very tight, and so air freight rates are also expected to rise in 2018.
That's bad news for smaller shippers. They don't have as much clout and financial leverage as the big shippers, leading to a greater struggle to secure getting good rates.
Climbing rates combined with a lack of full rate transparency sets the entire industry back. That's why Chainalytics and Drewry are teaming up to provide an online procurement platform targeted at smaller shippers who need help.
A full visibility platform from Geodis for air and ocean shippers will help small shippers, but also the industry as a whole.
"In general, there is an evolution toward online connections," Martin-Neuville said.
The new platform could be a signal that ocean freight's digitization initiatives are finally starting to accelerate.