- Kuehne + Nagel and Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo have teamed up to directly integrate their electronic booking systems, K+N announced Thursday, in what it deemed an industry first.
- The partnership directly connects K+N and Air France-KLM systems, in addition to providing access to ad-hoc quotes and dynamic pricing. This follows a proof of concept in which the carrier and freight forwarder used an API to match capacity to demand in real-time.
- The two companies will "further develop the solution," according to the press release, which did not offer additional details on what that means. Rollout of the API will begin in Europe and South Asia Pacific.
The freight forwarding industry's relatively slow uptake on the digitalization movement is beginning to gain steam as major players roll out electronic solutions and real-time data for their shipper customers.
Kuehne + Nagel stated last year its ambition of "Leading the Transformation," using technology, automated services and data to create a customer-centric strategy. The forwarder has since then launched an app and a control center on its website with booking information and services in one place. It has also experimented in blockchain pilots for digital document exchange.
K+N allowing its customers to book directly with Air France-KLM is the first move of its kind in the industry, according to K+N. Air Cargo News reports other cargo carriers, including AirBridge Cargo, Finnair and Lufthansa, have connected their booking portals through APIs but not through full-service freight forwarders.
Online bookings based on real-time capacity and demand could help eliminate some of the issues surrounding rolled cargo, a longstanding source of tension among shippers and carriers. Many major ocean carriers have started introducing instant bookings and quotes in a move toward greater transparency for shippers. Dynamic pricing and ad-hoc quotes on K+N and Air France-KLM also eliminate the back and forth for shippers looking to book a load.
The service could prove beneficial for Air France-KLM because it provides access to a large network of customers, as K+N is the second-largest freight forwarder in the world, according to Armstrong & Associates.