WebCargo expects air cargo’s move to digital booking to continue beyond Covid

By Damian Brett

Manel Galindo, WebCargo

Online booking portal WebCargo is expecting the airfreight sector’s rapid push towards digitalistion to continue beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Air Cargo News, Manel Galindo, chief executive of WebCargo, said the supply chain disruption caused by the outbreak had helped speed up air cargo’s use of digital technology, such as booking platforms.

He explained that market volatility and capacity shortages meant that forwarders had turned to booking platforms where they could view real-time space availability and rates for many airlines at the same time rather than having to contact each carrier individually.

And he doesn’t expect people to switch back even when the pandemic is over and air cargo capacity is more readily available.

Galindo explained that in June the number of bookings made online increased by around 2000% compared with a year earlier.

He said this was in part due to more airlines being added in 2021, such as Qatar Cargo, Turkish Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines, but also because forwarders were becoming accustomed to the using the WebCargo portal – something that is unlikely to change.

“I think that for the clients, booking platforms were a really user-friendly tool to find capacity and price at that moment and right now they are still using it a lot because they are now used to getting information in seconds and bringing a solution to clients in seconds,” he said.

He added that the use of online booking and digital solutions will become more ingrained in the supply chain, further accelerating their use.

“All these systems will be connected with the different platforms to provide rates and capacity in real time,” he said.

“The shipper will be able to buy in a few seconds and the freight forwarder will be able to accelerate the process of connecting with trucking companies, customs and airlines and have one place where they can give a really good user experience to the shipper.”

In line with this, WebCargo recently launched Vista, a new tool that allows forwarders to offer online booking on their own website to shippers.

WebCargo Vista provides forwarders with a branded sales portal that is connected directly to their rate management systems and that can then be offered customers an online booking option.

The company explained that research it had recently conducted showed that only 25%of top freight forwarders currently offer accessible online booking to their customers.

Elsewhere, the company has been helping airlines to improve the response times of their APIs – the digital connection between WebCargo and the carriers’ systems.

It also hopes to see an increase in the use of online booking in ocean freight.

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