Shippers that utilize online platforms for ocean freight and air cargo freight quotes gain an immediate operations and cost advantage. Coupled with integrated ocean freight tracking and air cargo tracking, digital platforms are clearly the future of transportation.

Let’s say a shipper has an 850 lb. pallet of cargo ready to ship from New York to London. How does that company obtain a full selection of ocean shipping options and ocean freight rates? Perhaps it might make sense to consider air freight options as well? What about door to door international service?

Within a “traditional” freight forwarder model, which still constitutes the majority of the marketplace, the behind the scenes activity is slow and inefficient.

Here are the steps: a shipper contacts their ocean freight forwarder or air cargo provider via email with a request. The forwarder reviews the requests and (in most cases) sends an email back to the shipper requesting additional shipment details. This might include the need for a commodity description, complete weight and dimensions, actual point of pickup, and final point of delivery. Once all requirements are established, the provider starts putting together the elements of the quote one step at a time.

First, the ltl freight pickup service and cost needs to be obtained. Because most freight forwarders do not have ltl freight contracts, they go to third party providers outside their existing operation system. This takes a few steps because all LTL carriers cannot meet international freight requirements.

Next, the provider must begin the search for ocean freight rates. This entails scrutinizing internal spreadsheets and emails to determine whether or not their contracts even cover the requested trade lanes. In the case of LCL freight, they email or login to the platforms of different LCL freight consolidators.

Last, the slow task of sending emails to overseas partners and agents begins with requests for the final destination handling and delivery costs occurs. Due to differing time zones and business practices, this can take several days. Not to mention, the overseas partners are also sending manual emails to their respective trucking providers in search of delivery costs.

While all of this backend cost-compilation is taking place, the shipment is essentially on-hold, not moving because the shipper doesn’t have options to consider.

Finally, the quote is prepared and emailed to the client. In most cases, they are only offered one ocean freight option and perhaps one air cargo option. Whether or not the option provided meets the shippers needs remains to be decided.

Overall, this is beyond inefficient and clearly and eye-opener within todays challenging transportation environment that there must be a better solution.

Let’s flip the scenario and run it through an example of using the ExFreight instant freight rate quote, book, and tracking platform.

To start, the customer logs into their account and quickly enters the pickup zip or city code of the shipper and destination consignee. This can be either an import or export shipment. Next, the commodity description is entered along with weight and dimensions. Last, the get-rating button is selected. Within 10 seconds, up to 25 ocean freight rates and air freight rates are provided including door to door and door to port. Not only that, transit times are provided along with carbon emissions, carrier liability, along with an overview and breakdown of carrier on-time reliability.

It sounds to good to be true but is actually real. Not only are the shipping rates instant, the booking process is immediate as well.

At this point, the shipper chooses a shipment mode and carrier. Within seconds the pickup address and final destination address are entered. This is followed by using the ExFreight HTS lookup tool and completing the initial customs process, depending on whether the shipment is import or export. Last, the shipment is dispatched once the shipper reviews all information entered for accuracy and clicks the confirm-and-book button. The shipment is immediately dispatched to all parties including the ltl freight carrier and international carrier along with the destination agent for customs clearance and door delivery.

The shipper has just completed the entire shipping quote and booking process in less than five minutes. But wait, it gets better than that.

Now that the shipment has been dispatched, the customer receives automated email status updates throughout the course of the shipment. ExFreight’s ocean freight tracking and air cargo tracking functionality also applies. The map-based cargo tracking functionality uses GPS technology to show the shipper the global location of the freight throughout the shipment process.

At this point you are probably thinking, “I don’t believe this”. Your current (antiquated) freight forwarder will probably tell you it’s impossible, but it’s not only possible but happens thousands of times per month through the ExFreight platform.

The scenario described above clearly demonstrates that digital shipping is the future.

You can obtain instant access to an immediate freight quote for air cargo and ocean freight coupled with air cargo tracking and ocean freight by simply clicking here.