- Xeneta, an Oslo-based ocean freight rate benchmarking and market intelligence company, launched a platform that "allows all parties to set rates at transparent, efficient and fair prices that directly follow market fluctuations."
- The platform, called the Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI), seeks to eliminate the opacity of contract negotiations, which CEO Patrik Berglund described as "clear pain point" for many shippers and carriers.
- Through transparency, Xeneta said XSI could shippers secure competitive rates and, in the long run, help supply chains run more smoothly.
The carrier market has shrunk over the past few years as carriers have consolidated, leaving shippers with fewer competitive options. A year ago, Xeneta debated Freightos, an online freight marketplace, about whether ocean freight rates should be completely transparent or not.
But now, more industry leaders seek to digitize shipping registries and rate negotiation. A transparent platform can hold carriers accountable to the going market rates.
Xeneta isn't the only one with this kind of initiative. Just a few months ago, Chainalytics and Drewry announced a new ocean shipping procurement platform for smaller shippers to help them navigate the choppy waters of rising rates and an evolving industry.
At the end of last year, the New York Shipping Exchange (NYSHEX) received approval to launch a platform allowing shippers and carriers to see each others' registered shipments and avoid overbooking.
The recent industry changes are especially precarious for smaller shippers, who may not have the clout to negotiate with the carriers monopolizing the market. But carriers can also benefit from a transparent rates platform: by seeing what competitors are charging shippers, carriers can subsequently offer lower rates or deals with shippers to get more business, thus generating more competition.
Not only that, rate transparency can help shippers find the best carrier for their needs, which could mitigate overcapacity and capacity crunches by more efficiently aligning supply with demand.