While iContainers says it has seen technology adopted in the freight forwarding sector over the last decade it has been used mainly for internal processes unlike container lines that have used it to improve their services and get their customers to submit documents online.
“As shippers press on with their demand for speed, transparency, and efficiency, the freight forwarding strives hard to find a quick enough and appropriate response,” said Klaus Lysdal, vice president of sales and operations for iContainers.
“Carriers have the advantage because they operate in a market with very little competition,” he explained. “Freight forwarders on the other hand, face the challenge of having to do things that help the clients rather than adopting a technology that could ease their workflow.”
Issues of the cost of developing tools and forwarding being seen as a “people” business were part of the reluctance in the sector to embrace technology.
“There’s a reluctance to replace a personal touch that’s crucial for shippers. For many of them, the personal service is important,” Lysdal added.
“It’s vital for them to know that there’s a human presence around they can trust and rely on to take care of their shipment and to ensure things move as smoothly as possible.”