CEVA Logistics, one of the top 10 freight forwarders in the world, signed a deal with logistics software provider Kontainers to provide the online engine for quoting and booking container ship capacity.
With the new online quote offering, CEVA joins a host of other major logistics firms that are seeking to automate the at times, quite painful process of booking ocean freight. Kontainers Chief Executive Graham Parker said 2019 has been remarkable for the number of rollouts and announcements from forwarders and carriers about their digital initiatives.
”The market leaders are all in on technology,” Parker said. “By the end of 2020, every freight forwarder that is still competitive will have a customer-facing, online portal as the cost of doing business.”
Kuehne + Nagel the largest ocean freight forwarder in the world, said it plans to offer online services for ocean freight customers starting this year. DB Schenker also rolled out online services for air and ocean cargo to North America. DHL Global Forwarding, DP-DHL Group’s air and ocean freight specialist, also introduced an online service for comparing price quotes and checking availability of air and ocean capacity.
For Kontainers, the deal with CEVA is another notch in its belt of customer wins, which include Maersk and Toll Global Logistics.
Parker declined to say what the CEVA contract is worth, but they are paying in the “seven figures” for a monthly subscription to Kontainers’ software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.
The alternative is building an in-house software system. But the logistics industry has had fraught experiences with proprietary software implementations as has occurred at DP DHL Group. Parker said the cost and risk of a proprietary system is what’s attracting forwarders to a SaaS platform
In-house software systems are “just not at a competitive price point,” Parker said. “It can take 12 to 24 months to rollout and our system is up and running in 12 weeks.”
CEVA’s will be using Kontainers’ Enterprise platform, which provides instant rates, booking, customs, trucking, full- and less-than-container load services, global schedules, bill of lading, chat support, dashboard analytics, payment system and a full back office application.
The addition of CEVA, now a subsidiary of CMA CGM, means that Kontainers has relationships with one-quarter of the world’s top 20 forwarders.
The deal with Kontainers is also likely to also extend into CEVA’s air freight business by next year, Parker said.
With the addition of CEVA, Parker said Kontainers software platform will be handling approximately 1.1 million transactions annually, accounting for about 2.5 million standard size ocean containers.