Matthieu PETOT, CEO of CargoAi

  1. 1. Information and data availability has become indispensable in the current scenario, both for the users as well as for the companies delivering freight services. What are the steps that companies have taken, with your organisation as their tech-enablement partner, to increase accessibility of information as well optimise the usage of information?

    CargoAi has a unique position to help companies in the airfreight industry to tech-enable their businesses, both from a supply and demand perspective.

    From the supply side (airlines), 20+ airlines have successfully improved their sales distribution by funnelling all available capacity for a certain routing into one window on our platform that can be easily accessed by freight forwarders. Using the best API tech in the industry, airlines easily “plug-in” to our platform using our CargoGATE solution, which allows real-time capacity and rates to be displayed to forwarders searching for spot rates. We have also made a strategic integration with ECS Group, one of the largest GSAs in the industry with an extensive global reach that significantly expands our airline portfolio further to 60+. This allows freight forwarders to access a significant amount of capacity for spot requests within one simple search query.

    In all the products we offer our airline partners, integration is just the beginning – we develop our core solutions in constant dialogue to ensure that we address the existing manual processes that need to be digitalised.

    From the demand side (freight forwarders), more than 6500 individual users are using our two solutions based on their business requirements. As with the airlines, the two solutions have been developed with their needs in mind.

    CargoMART is for SME forwarders while CargoCONNECT is for multinational forwarders, integrators, tech suppliers, eCommerce Platforms, or startups posessing significant tech-enablement capabilities.

    More than 6500 freight forwarder users globally (and growing daily) can leverage the use of CargoMART – our online platform for checking live schedules, routes, comparing live prices, making instant bookings directly with the airlines, using our ‘track and trace’ feature and much more. This is a significant improvement over a manual and lengthy process for

    these freight forwarders to access a large number of real-time results. The data displayed can be filtered by price, routing, time taken, and carbon emission allowing for quick and rational business decisions.

    The tech-enabled freight forwarders and other stakeholders from the industry are also integrating their ERP and TMS systems with our range of plug-n-play APIs developed for them - CargoCONNECT. This provides them with a wide range of value-added information, like live schedules, track and trace data, routings and rates, which they can use to enhance their air freight services for their customers and prospects.

    The global logistics and supply chain is a fast-growing industry with huge competition among service providers. Our ready-to-use digital gateways are helping not only large enterprises but even the SMEs to stand out in eminence, with augmented services.

    More critically, from a sustainability perspective, which the whole industry is focusing discussions and implementing changes on, our Cargo2ZERO solution is a huge step forward in helping forwarders understand the information available to make informed decisions on reducing their carbon footprint. This solution allows forwarders to make the choice to book a “green” route and not only a “cheap” route for example, based on trade lanes, carrier options, etc. This will ultimately allow them to improve their efficiency at opting for a greener route as much as possible – all this data about what they have done vs industry benchmarks are displayed into simple-to-understand dashboards and analytics. In addition, forwarders can track CO2 emissions from each shipment across all flights taken. These detailed metrics help them to assess their environmental contribution and provide an opportunity to make an impact with sustainability solutions.

  2. 2. How will digitisation and integration of processes with end-to-end visibility help in streamlining air cargo operations and make them cost-effective and competitive as well? Can you provide us with some examples/case studies?

    For most people, air Cargo is all about speed as it is the fastest means of cargo transportation compared to sea freight. However, the reality is that the industry is weighed down by manual, redundant and time-consuming workflows.

    From a freight forwarder’s perspective, it is crucial to secure shippers’ business fast, yet the shipment planning stage takes the most time to be wrapped up. In an analogue workflow, forwarders require multiple email and phone exchanges for hours with air carriers to check and negotiate spot and ad hoc rates, to finally settle upon a carrier with the right rates and services. The average time cited by a freight forwarder to conclude this planning stage is about 2 hours. In the worst-case scenario, studies have shown that rate procurement can take up to three days, which is crippling to secure business in a spot-driven market. The

    advent of digital platforms like CargoMART enables forwarders to accomplish this whole negotiation and rate procurement process in a few minutes, with the choice and visibility of airlines displaying their rates and schedules for quick and accurate planning.

    When manual processes are digitalised, the aforementioned process can be multiplied in the hundred-fold for handling several more shipments and increasing overall revenue for a freight forwarder.

    In addition to procurement, tracking a shipment is also a cumbersome process that normally requires coordination with airline personnel through (again) multiple emails and phone calls or navigating various airline and third-party websites manually. CargoAi’s CargoMART simplifies this process via a single window that summarizes tracking information, and also provides opportunity to subscribe to notifications for real-time tracking updates. This way, the forwarder doesn’t have to look for the information and can be assured that information is always flowing, in order to keep their shippers up to date.

    When this information can be obtained within seconds, it benefits everyone in the chain (shippers, forwarders, airlines, and the end customer), to know exactly what is happening with their shipment at any point in time.

    For larger companies, CargoCONNECT enables forwarders with their own TMS systems to integrate directly with CargoAi to search for schedules, track & trace, and book, confirm and request rates out of their own systems - without the need to log in or log out to our CargoMART platform. They operate within an interface that a large MNC is comfortable with, getting rid of any time needed for retraining a workforce of hundreds. This saves valuable time and money during offer-creation to shippers, which increases customer satisfaction and eventually customer retention.

  3. 3. Many aerospace companies are investing in the latest technologies to cater to specific areas for improved efficiencies. According to you, which are the areas that are urgently in need of improved efficiencies, that have not been worked upon?

    To improve efficiencies, CargoAi firmly believes that the way forward for the air cargo industry is not to invest heavily internally – which means not hiring in-house teams and spending time and money to develop digital solutions. Rather, outsourcing this task to cloud-based vendors will accelerate the integration and improvement of business workflows.

    In general, once there is a high degree of digitalization, the industry can benefit from latest technologies such as augmented reality, AI algorithms, autonomy, and machine learning

    in order to gather data, make processes visible, improve data analytics and essentially result in informed decision making.

    We believe these will contribute to enhancing the efficiency of trade lanes, data-based revenue management, capacity management, customer segmentation, the anticipation of seasonal market fluctuations, supply chain disruptions, and improved risk management.

    Aside from implementing technologies, companies need to cater for the tech changes, and ensure that staff are skilled in technology that is compatible with their organisation’s needs.

    Another major issue is sustainability. With the increasing complexity of global supply chains, the pressures of the climate crisis and therefore related governmental policies, juxtaposed against a boom in global e-commerce, it is crucial that forwarders and airlines adapt their operational processes to encompass long-term business needs that include sustainable choices.