North American freight forwarders now have the ability to comparison shop and make instant electronic bookings with less-than-truckload carriers through Freightos, a rapidly growing digital marketplace for international air and ocean shipments.
The development takes digital rate management to the next level and eventually will allow logistics companies to reserve air and ground delivery through a consolidated tool.
7LFreight, an Oregon-based company Freightos acquired this year, on Tuesday announced the launch of real-time booking with more than 140 LTL carriers such as Saia, Estes and AAA Cooper in its platform. Instead of going to the websites of multiple carriers or agents to execute orders after finding the best shipping price and routes, shipments can be booked via a single dashboard, creating greater efficiency and visibility for forwarders.
7LFreight for years has managed preshipment LTL rates for thousands of freight intermediaries focused on local pickup and delivery for airport shipments, middle-mile moves by carriers such as Forward, Land Air, American Linehaul and airlines utilizing trucking networks as a substitute for domestic air transport.
Forwarders who have accounts with participating LTL carriers not only have the ability to receive fast quotes but to electronically dispatch loads and track and trace shipments. The 7LFreight system also adds convenience by automatically adding surcharges and other carrier fees, as well as allowing forwarders to add their margin on top of the carrier rates.
Customers can initiate a shipment with a shared truckload carrier “by generating the bill of lading and labels and then electronically dispatch the shipment, which notifies the LTL provider that they need to go to the shipper and pick up the shipment,” 7L Freight CEO Brennan O’Dowd told FreightWaves.
“My average customer works with 10 or more LTL carriers or three or more brokers” and can now make transport arrangements “all from one place,” he added.
7LFreight has long connected directly to the carrier for dynamic pricing information thanks to software interfaces that plug into carriers’ revenue systems, eliminating the need for phone calls and emailing spreadsheets to verify quotes.
“It makes it really simple for the forwarders to get a quote,” O’Dowd said. “You just put in the number of pieces, dimensions and weight, where it’s coming from and where it’s going to and then we’re going to do all the calculations for them, including oversized fees and things of that nature that can often be pitfalls or ‘aha’ moments for forwarders.”
Having real-time access to fuel surcharges, which were updating every day early this year as diesel prices skyrocketed, eliminates surprises and the need for carriers to retroactively charge their own customers more than originally quoted, according to O’Dowd.
In a news release, customer Mike Wendorf of Alliance Air Freight, gave a testimonial for the new 7L product.
“The LTL platform allows our customers to go in and manually quote, book and dispatch carriers without our office’s need for any email correspondence,” Wendorf said. “Prior to utilizing 7LFreight’s LTL platform, it would take on average six emails per shipment from quote through shipment’s completion. By having our customers go online to book LTL shipments, we have freed up time to focus on more productive tasks.”
The Freightos company plans to soon expand the eBooking function to first-and-last mile, and expedited motor carriers, said O’Dowd. And it will consolidate the ground-booking features with air booking into a single tool set as more shippers seek to compare quotes between multiple transport modes.
In the air and ocean markets, forwarders use Freightos unit WebCargo for instant rate quotes and real-time price comparisons before booking and to make digital payments. The Freightos platform is how importers and exporters book shipments with forwarders.
7LFreight already supports real-time eBooking across 33 major airlines, including American Airlines, Emirates SkyCargo, Turkish Airlines and Latam, through an integration with WebCargo.
WebCargo last week penetrated the large Chinese market by signing China Southern Airlines to sell its cargo capacity on the platform.
Freightos expects to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange next year after completing its sale to a special purpose acquisition company.
Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.
China Southern to list air cargo capacity on Freightos market
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