The pain of the rate database
In part 1 we talked about how freight forwarders create and maintain a rate database of all their carrier rates for the different routes that they operate in. Alternately, they Use an automated process/ software/ platform that fetches them updated carrier rates on a regular basis. This is typically the first step (and as we will see, the first pain) to delivering quotations online.
Creating and maintaining rate databases is a tedious, time consuming and resource intensive exercise. Carrier rates change frequently nowadays. Rates that used to be applicable for 6-12 months now can change every fortnight. Earlier, rate changes primarily occurred due to changes in fuel surcharge or labor costs, but the base rate remained the same. However, nowadays not only are the changes more frequent, surcharges like congestion surcharge, equipment surcharge or peak season surcharges are also added randomly. The unpredictability and frequency of such rate changes makes maintaining a rate database rather difficult.
Even when rate databases are integrated with carrier databases to ensure automatic updates, free of human error, forwarders must rely on carriers updating rates on their systems. Plus, issues like space crunch require calling carriers to obtain rates anyways. In the recent times this has been a constant problem and with the extreme space crunch that the industry is experiencing, rates are in a constant state of flux and online systems have proved to be less than effective.
So realistically, creating and maintaining rate databases or even integrating with carrier systems has some severe limitations.
On Terminal2, with our “No Code” approach you can start quoting online in minutes, without having to set up or share your rate database. We call quotes “offers” - as in the complete packaging of services that you offer to your customers. Completely customizable, editable, and configurable, the tool helps you in creating Air or LCL products for different days across multiple trade lines in minutes! You can even control what goes to a known or existing customer vs. what a new potential customer sees.
In the next part, we talk about how time of booking makes all the difference and how Terminal2 helps freight forwarders secure bookings, no matter when in the shipping cycle the booking is made. We make sure that shippers can come to forwarders at any time they wish to book space - whether well in advance or last minute seeking a spot rate. And we also ensure that our forwarders can cater to both times. Visit www.terminal2online.com to know more or sign up for a demo here.