Businesses that export items frequently face several problems in sending their goods to end consumers. In many situations, such enterprises use specialists known as “freight forwarders” to assist them in overcoming these challenges.
Who is a Freight Forwarder and what is Freight Forwarding?
Freight forwarders often act as go-betweens for the companies that engage them and the different transportation agencies involved in getting their products to international clients, such as carriers, handlers, and customs authorities.
The process of organizing and directing the transfer of commodities across international borders on behalf of shippers and receivers is known as freight forwarding. Warehouse planning, freight insurance, and customs brokerage are just a few of the other duties that must be fulfilled.
Freight forwarding is the strategic planning and execution of logistics for the international movement of commodities on behalf of shippers. A freight forwarder, for example, will handle freight rate negotiations, container tracking, customs documentation, and freight consolidation, among other things.
Role of Technology in Freight Forwarding
The ability to adapt to adverse situations is the most important attribute for freight forwarders. They’ve been put to the test by the pandemic. Forwarders are also increasing their investments in technology, which not only improves efficiencies but also improves operations and creates new solutions. Forwarders are also increasing their investments in technology, which not only improves efficiencies but also improves operations and creates new solutions.
Some of the technologies utilized by freight forwarders that benefit not just forwarders but also other stakeholders such as governments, consignees, and consignors are listed below:
(IoT) Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a technology that can by itself streamline company operations while appearing unclear. It has the potential to alter the entire supply chain, from fleet monitoring to inventory management.
The improved transparency of IoT allows warehouse operators to track and gain real-time access to cargo, barcode integration increases security, predictive maintenance ensures optimal asset utilization, and geo-fencing allows warehouse operators to effectively draw virtual boundaries to create specific alerts and safeguard the cargo within the perimeter.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Freight forwarders can use AI to sift through thousands of datasets and recommend the best route with the best carrier at the cheapest price. AI is projected to make freight management much easier by providing data to maintain track of road traffic, minimize fuel consumption, avoid traffic congestion, assess existing routing, and shortest route optimization methods, and so save money. Logistics firms can use Advanced Machine Learning to identify patterns and use this predictive insight to make better business decisions. Machine Learning uses previous interactions to generate algorithms that optimize activities such as operations and security.
The data collected from numerous locations provides a clear picture of the looming threats and allows for the development of alternative solutions that promote transparency while also saving capital, time, and even lives. For example, AML can identify ports and routes that are both cost-effective and productive for businesses.
The productivity of the freight business is expected to rise dramatically as data regarding the capabilities of private fleets are now publicly accessible. Because data is involved, cloud-based businesses can use cloud solutions to store this data and serve as a central location for all the information regarding transit, docking, and storage that can increase operational productivity and efficiency.
Robotic process automation
Smart ports around the world embrace digitization to the advantage of freight forwarders. This includes automated forklifts, warehouse automation, inventory management, and chatbots for better customer support. Robotic palletizing, robotic packaging, robotic picking, and utilization of (COBOTS), or collaborative robots, are a few common robotic applications at ports and ICDs. Such digitalization of ports continues to open the door for robotic process automation, where humans and technology work together to enhance supply chain operations.
By redefining security, blockchain technology is reshaping the future of freight forwarders. Blockchain opens up new security horizons thanks to its built-in resistance to data tampering and to protocols that allow for selective access. It allows freight forwarders to reasonably cut back on safety expenditures while enhancing process effectiveness. As integration with current procedures continues to advance, shippers have more alternatives for transaction verification across the supply chain.
Technology is a friend to anyone trying to conduct business internationally, particularly during a time of conflict. Digital freight forwarders can reclaim the time spent on unnecessary duties with the help of automotive technologies, which also provide routes for materials to reach their destination. Soon, the logistics and freight industries will require the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with other digital technologies like the Internet of Things and blockchain.