ACTS 2022: Digital booking, digitization hold value across entire airfreight industry
This story was originally published June 7, 2022 in Air Cargo Next.
Digital booking and digitization efforts enhance the visibility of available data, allowing information to be shared more effectively across the entire airfreight industry, Sebastien Podgorski, senior manager of cargo digital Air Canada Cargo, said during Monday’s panel discussion on digital booking at the Air Cargo Tech Summit 2022.
“As more information is shared across the chain, that’s where greater efficiency can really start to happen, and where you can start to avoid some of these drop-off delays, which absolutely crushes the efficiency that you’re trying to put into your business,” Podgorski said.
In turn, digitization enables information to be shared between carriers, forwarders and shippers, as well as carriers and ground handlers. He further noted that the information can also be helpful for planning between handlers and truckers.
However, for digitization efforts to be effective, more than just the front end needs to change, Camilo Garcia Cervera, global vice president for business development at WebCargo, said during the panel.
Everyone will benefit from digitizing booking and other processes — not just forwarders — as long as all stakeholders find a way to add value to the industry as a whole, Cervera said.
“I’m a firm believer that no one in this industry is at risk, provided that they are adding value,” he said. “If they’re not adding value, then it’s not going to be due to digitization of technology that they will disappear.”
Leveling the playing field with digitization
Digitization can also level the playing field for smaller forwarders, said Charles Marrale, CEO at forwarder ExFreight. Digitization enabled ExFreight to offer full application programming interface (API) connectivity, carbon footprint reporting, transparent pricing and a suite of other high-demand features.
“It actually helps democratize access to airline space,” Air Canada’s Podgorski added. “If you’re a smaller forwarder, good luck getting in touch with one of our sales reps [because] they’re quite busy. By having space available on marketplaces, it absolutely opens it up and makes it accessible to everybody.”
Digitized operations are on track to grow, according to panelists. Shippers and forwarders will increasingly demand the ability to get online and receive a rate from any airport to any other airport, especially as visibility will continue to help streamline processes across the airfreight supply chain.
“The future is instant access to information right when you need it,” ExFreight’s Marrale said.