Digital trends have in the past disrupted how traditional transactions occur and have paved the way to what we know now. Similarly, in the name of progress and productivity, we look at means of cutting down lags and delays, to make processes and transactions more efficient. This process is constantly evolving with new theories, practices, and strategies being produced to facilitate better numbers. The same is evident with the digitization in freight forwarding, with traditional freight forwarders needing to keep up in the midst of threats from digital disruptors. In the fast-paced world of real-time communication and transactions, it was slated for traditional freight forwarders as intermediaries to become redundant with them being surpassed for direct carrier to shipper interactions.
Traditional freight forwarding has been around since the 18th century, whereby they would be tasked with carrying out all interactions with carriers, custom agents and other authorities that would be needed for a successful shipping transaction. With it, freight forwarding agents ascended to experts of not just shipping, but of documentation, packing, warehousing and not to mention supply chain too. They represent a platform of reliability, and provide optimisation in concern to time and costs between the shipper and carrier. However, in 2017, McKinsey stated that freight forwarders would become redundant whereby digitization in freight forwarding would make manual shipment transactions obsolete in the future. This was with the introduction of what was referred to as “digital connectors” which would technologically link up the shipper and carriers surpassing the need for an intermediary such as a freight forwarder.
However, the freight forwarding industry has accessed the market, how blue chip companies are tapping into the freight forwarding market itself such as with Alibaba and Google taking up stakes in niches, and more and more players in the industry are looking at digitization in freight forwarding as a means of attaining competitive advantages. Means of ensuring that digitization in freight forwarding equals to productivity and efficacy. When freight forwarders opt to digitize there are many ways in which this can happen. By utilising digital technologies there are various functions in which digitisation in the freight forwarding industry can happen. From control and procurement, to state-of-the-art transport management systems and more, digitisation in freight forwarding can be a definite success with freight forwarders ascending to newer heights. Furthermore, freight forwarders should also incorporate smarter strategies and introducing services and products that are attractive to the ever-evolving customer base especially those that are digitising and reaching for globalisation.
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