- Hapag-Lloyd on Tuesday announced it launched Quick Quotes, a new online service providing container quotes for all customers "within seconds."
- "Becoming easier to do business with and digitising our services are very important for us," Rolf Haben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, said in a press release. "Quick Quotes enables our customers globally to get a fast quotation at any time, which will contribute to a better and more efficient customer experience."
- The service requires customers to log in to Hapag-Lloyd's website before use, but the company said quotations are binding. As of September, the service will also be available on the company's mobile applications.
Supply Chain Dive reached out to each of the top six carriers for a quote to ship a twenty-foot container of freight all kind (FAK) from Beijing to New York. Only Hapag-Lloyd could claim to provide a binding rate online and within minutes of the query (registration required).
Maersk Line had an online form to complete a quotation query, but once completed, provided only a confirmation email, a reference number for the request and a promise to contact the shipper with more information.
CMA CGM and COSCO Shipping had similar forms but did not send users a confirmation email or reference number. COSCO's pledge was slightly more concrete, however, as its website promised a response within three business days.
ONE and MSC, meanwhile, did not provide a form to submit a quote inquiry within their website — or, at least, not to unregistered users. MSC redirects all queries to an email or phone number (after three minutes on the line with the phone number, Supply Chain Dive heard an automated voice say "we are unable to complete your call").
The top six shipping lines vary greatly in their processes for online quotations
|Instant quote provided
|Confirmation email received
|Reference number provided
|Pledge to respond
|X (3 days)
ONE may have a form but requires a customer log-in. Supply Chain Dive applied for an account but was rejected.
Hapag-Lloyd requires customer registration to submit a query, but the process is immediate, requiring only a confirmation link. The online service released today provided Supply Chain Dive a quote of $2,400 for transporting the container, with surcharges explained and two offers for the shipment (pictured at the end of this article).
The clunky process to secure quotes and shipments may be costing supply chains billions of dollars a year in terms of hours wasted, according to a recent analysis by Zencargo. As shippers lack an expedited way to compare transport prices, they may also be losing money and competitive cost advantages.
In the past year, online systems have been spawning left and right to address this lack of pricing visibility. Freight forwarders — such as DHL, Kuehne + Nagel, and Maersk's Damco — have launched online platforms. The New York Shipping Exchange also now has various carriers — including Hapag-Lloyd — making instant offers on its marketplace.
The recent initiatives appear a way for carriers to differentiate their service for shippers, amid a highly competitive marketplace. At least at this time, however, Hapag-Lloyd is one of the few to claim instant quote services.