Lufthansa Cargo and AF KLM Cargo lead the way for digital connectivity

Lufthansa Cargo and Air France KLM Cargo have been rated as the best carriers for digital connectivity, according to a new report from online marketplace Freightos.

Freightos created a specific methodology to assess the progress made by air (and ocean) cargo carriers on digitalisation, applying 26 parameters across three categories to the top 20 air (and 10 ocean) cargo carriers.

The three categories used were Digital Connectivity (do the carriers communicate directly using digital systems and with customers using real-time APIs); Online Experience (do they provide a one-stop shop, business-to-consumer-like ecommerce experience for business customers and prospects on their platform?); and Transformation (do they focus top-down on changing internal and external systems, processes and culture?).

In terms of digital maturity amongst the airfreight carriers assessed, Lufthansa Cargo had the highest digital connectivity score, followed by Air France-KLM Cargo.

In terms of the online experience Delta Cargo did best, followed by Air France-KLM Cargo and LATAM. Lufthansa Cargo had the best transformation and cross-category scores.

Key insights of the results include:

  • Only five carriers were identified as having real-time API connectivity to customer systems, namely airfreight carriers Lufthansa Cargo, Air France-KLM Cargo and Delta Cargo, plus ocean carriers Maersk and MSC
  • Technology has been slow to transition from ocean to airfreight shipping – air cargo lagged behind on technology uptake. Yet, for a time-sensitive mode, there is an even more urgent need for digitalisation, Freightos suggested
  • While smaller companies often leverage shorter transformation times to get an edge, results show that, the larger the carrier, the more digitally mature they are likely to be (though the correlation was less marked for airfreight carriers than ocean shippers)
  • Some carriers, especially those in ocean shipping, invest heavily in transformation. 50% of ocean carriers have a head of transformation and 40% published a digital strategy, but there is less emphasis in airfreight

Freightos chief executive Zvi Schreiber commented: “Carriers should be proud to be the backbone of world trade, powering unprecedented job creation and consumer choice.

“But for 20 years while retail, passenger travel and financial services were transforming through digitalisation, our industry was still pushing paper airway bills and bills of lading, and manually emailing Excel-based rate sheets.

“This survey shows that finally the change has started. The first horses are out of the gate. And like in other industries there will be digital winners and losers.”

Schreiber continued: “While these benchmarks show much has been done, we may be entering global trade’s most pivotal decade of innovation.

“Automation and APIs means on-demand decision making, smarter supply chains, and an acceleration in the already breakneck speed of the movement of goods,” he concluded.

The full report can be found at: https://www.freightos.com/resources/digital-carrier-benchmarking-2019/

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