Kuehne+Nagel and Air France KLM in ‘industry first’ system connection

By Damian Brett

KLM 747-400ERF Schiphol

Freight forwarder Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) and airline group Air France KLM have directly connected their space booking systems in what they claim is an industry first.

The two companies said that by connecting their systems shippers would be able to gain direct access to Air France KLM capacity through K+N.

“Customers will benefit from a seamless experience with both companies’ full digital offering, including ad-hoc quotations, capacity availability inquiries, dynamic pricing and real-time e-booking functionalities,” the two said in a statement.

“It is the first time that an airfreight carrier and a global logistics provider create a direct system-to-system connection that transforms manual quotation and capacity booking process into a digital automated solution, fostering collaborative relationships and next-generation supply chain practice.”

Rollout of the service will start in Europe and South Asia.

Yngve Ruud, member of the managing board of Kuehne + Nagel responsible for airfreight, said: “The successful conclusion of our proof of concept with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is a further step forward in eTouch, Kuehne + Nagel’s digital transformation process and initiative to offer a seamless digital customer journey. Thanks to the new interface, we increase speed, accuracy and efficiency – to the benefit of our airfreight customers all over the globe.”

Marcel de Nooijer, EVP Air France-KLM Cargo and managing director of Martinair, adds: “At Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, we keep innovating to provide connected and tailored solutions to our business customers around the world. In this context, enriching Kuehne + Nagel’s in-house systems with our digital services is another step towards the digitisation of our industry.”

The two companies said they had recently concluded a proof-of-concept to test the of the host-to-host connection of the systems through an application programming interface (API).

The connection offers a “system-based, integrated and interactive match between available capacity and demand”.

The development of digital booking offerings has been developing at a rapid pace over the last few years, with forwarders and startups launching services.

However, it is only recently that forwarders have been directly linking their customer portals and systems into the airlines’ system to offer real-time digital booking connections that instantly update as supply and demand fluctuate.

AirBridgeCargo, CargoLogicAir, IAG, Finnair and Lufthansa have previously hooked their systems into booking portals through APIs, although these are neutral booking portals rather than full service freight forwarders as is the case with K+N and Air France KLM.

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