Time of Booking
In Part II we talked about the difficulties of maintaining a rate database, where in the end forwarders often have to reach out to carriers for several bookings. Now, imagine that after getting it right (or as right as it can be), a shipper seeks out rates from a forwarder. The first data point an online system will need is the weight and volume of the consignment booked. But shippers mostly do not know that and can only provide best estimates.
That’s because when customers seek freight rates, they do so at a time that their cargo is not likely ready to be shipped. They would ideally want to make bookings in advance to secure a good rate. They may or may not have exact dimensions of their cargo. Since most automated quotation systems require not just weight and volume but often times, even the dimensions of cargo, what gets input is best estimates and not the exact data. After quotes are generated and bookings made, this leads to several issues as the actual cargo rarely matches what was booked.
Moreover, this could ruin a forwarders consol, require changes in payments or even vessels/ flights. Third party platforms not only take the entire amount upfront for booking, but any payment adjustments are either not allowed or need to be done offline. So, asking for cargo weight and volume or dimensions upfront is also ineffective. In fact, it is a major deterrent for shippers and does not serve a forwarders purpose either other than knowing which weight break to apply.
On Terminal2, shippers are provided all the information they need to make a booking. Both shippers, and forwarders, are provided the flexibility to make changes to the booking - for example, they may need to change the number of pieces being shipper closer to departure. Or they want to add a service last minute. Any number of changes are allowed on Terminal2. So when shippers are making a booking, they can go right ahead with whatever details they have, knowing full well that any changes or adjustments will be accommodated.
In the next part, we will talk about being competitive in the market. It seems formidable given the uncertainties that we are dealing with - the war, space crunch, lockdowns. But shippers will always seek better and cheaper rates. And that is one fundamental basis of the industry that never changes. So, we built a cool tool that lets forwarders visualize their consols and sell at rates that are most competitive. Visit www.terminal2online.com to know more or sign up for a demo here.