FREIGHT forwarders are cornerstones in the digitalisation of the entire airfreight supply chain, so anything that can be done to remove barriers to entry – such as the costly, complicated and time-consuming introduction of new intrusive IT hardware – will be a welcome relief to those most resistant to change, writes Thelma Etim.
That is why cloud-native CargoAi has created a ‘plug-in’ API feature for forwarders which shaves off the six months period it usually takes for those who currently utilise a transportation management system (TMS) to finally be able to integrate their data with that of a carrier.
The digital disruptor’s new product is aimed at removing such obstacles so that greater numbers of forwarders can benefit from increased digitalisation of their processes. The aim is that they would only receive relevant, useful data, Matthieu Petot, chief executive of the digital disruptor of CargoAi, explains. “Top forwarders have started to engage with airlines to connect directly into their systems, but the project of integration [usually] takes three to six months between an airline and a forwarder.
“At that rate, and with limited resources, it will take years for most forwarders to connect to most airlines,” Petot forecasts. “But, by connecting to us, a forwarder is immediately connected to 60 airlines and can also continue working on the other airlines,” he says.
CargoAi has two of the world’s top-five freight forwarders using its API suite already. “And we see thousands of airwaybills (AWBs) passing through every day,” he discloses.
By utilising the latest plug-in feature, forwarders no longer need to log into CargoAi’s web platform to access flight schedules, available cargo capacity, real-time prices and make bookings and track AWB status on some 150 airlines. “The freight forwarder user [of the new plug-in] will have access to all rates, capacity and bookings directly in his system,” Petot confirms.
“Big forwarders can now enjoy even more time-savings by plugging our API directly into their systems. For example, this [connection] saves the user from having to re-type the shipment details onto our web platform.”
Meanwhile, CargoAi’s ever-expanding platform now also caters for local trucking services which conduct first and last-mile deliveries within the United States and Canada. It has entered into a synergistic partnership with North American company Air Cargo Inc (ACI), a comprehensive airfreight directory of cartage agents established in 1941, to assist airlines in the USA and in Canada with road transport information that is also utilised by forwarders.
Under that agreement ACI’s 2,700 forwarder subscribers can access CargoAi’s air and ground services to get up-to-date accurate information on the progress of their North American shipments, says a statement.