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Survey: Forwarders on track for automated processes

A survey of freight forwarders suggests that the sector’s transition from manual to automated processes is gathering pace.

The survey by Hong Kong registered online booking portal Freightos found that although forwarding is largely manual today, in five years’ time 74% of forwarders believe it will be largely (but not completely) automated, just like personal banking is today.

Freightos surveyed nearly 70 freight forwarders, followed by in-depth interviews with senior executives at enterprise and mid-size freight forwarders.

The key points of the survey found that by “service differentiation”, forwarders mean customer service (77%)/seamless operations (63%), not scope of actual services.

Said Freightos in a statement: “However, this won’t necessarily be personal touch. Today 77% agree that personal touch is critical but believe that will decrease to 54% by 2022.

“57% of forwarders today believe that shippers are driven by price to choose forwarders today. By 2022, they believe that will decrease to 35%, while the importance of customer service in selection will grow from 11% to 28%.”

Zvi Schreiber, chief executive and founder of Freightos, said: “Successful forwarders are looking for the service edge over their rivals. That’s no different to how it has always been. Freight Digitalisation is inevitable. Prudent forwarders see this and are preparing for it, looking at what benefits it will bring.

“Those forwarders intent on providing a good service have a lot to gain from digitalisation. Far from the threat it was once perceived to be, it may in fact be their best bet for future proofing their business.”

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