If you are a freight forwarder looking to find a Saas tool you might be overwhelmed by what the market can offer you. There is an endless list of Freight Forwarding software that promise to tackle your end-to-end operations. A good bunch of these software go above and beyond quote generation, offer tracking, billing and so on. Not only is this information overwhelming, but unclear and vague, that one is not sure what they are getting when they sign up for a Saas tool.
The technicality behind these software and the way it functions might seem intimidating. So, it is important to understand Saas (Software as a Service), the technology that is the driving force behind the change. SaaS is a software distribution model where an application can be developed and hosted on the web and is available to end-users on the Internet. The software is usually available to the user on a subscription basis.
To use a Saas tool, you don’t need to buy new hardware or license for the software. You subscribe to the software, and it is delivered to you on the internet, and then it is maintained in the data centre of the hosting company. Maintaining and upgrading are done by the software company and as a user, you only need a web browser to use it.
To bring light into the darkness of Freight Forwarding software, we have consolidated a list of best Freight Forwarding software available in the industry including companies that focus on, for example, empty container repositioning, supply chain analytics or cargo availability.
Founder: Graham Parker, Charles Lee
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Gateshead, United Kingdom
Kontainers is an Enterprise Software company based in the UK, that serves shipping lines and freight forwarders. Kontainers were founded by Graham Parker, who previously built a freight forwarding company from scratch and realized the need for a digital frontend for forwarders. Since they launched Kontainers in 2014, they signed up industry giants such as Maersk, Toll Group and Maersk as customers for their customizable, digital front end solution. The firm creates additional online revenue streams through providing instant quotes, booking and managing the shipment via their cloud-based plug and plays solution. It can work alongside most of the existing software and consists of features such as customs clearance, creates the bill of lading, booking management, back-office functionalities, trucking arrangement, payment management, FCL and LCL booking.
Typically, Forwarders rely on Kontainers to digitalize their front end and compete with their digital competitors at low costs. The company offers three types of platforms, Large players use Enterprise, Medium-sized companies use Edge and small companies use Essential. Kontainers offers a return on investment in 6 months with 50% savings on operations and up to 33% savings on sales efforts.
Kontainers in the press
Founder: Patrik Berglund, Thomas Sorbo, Vilhelm K. Vardoy
Year founded: 2012
Headquarters: Oslo, Norway
Xeneta is the leading ocean freight benchmarking and market intelligence platform for shippers and freight forwarders. Xeneta has made a big contribution to the digitalisation of the container industry by digitalising the crowdsourcing of shipping rates. Freight forwarders use the service to procure competitive rates with suppliers, scale operations and support their customer lifecycle management. On Xeneta they have access to countless databases on the platform based on 160 million shipping rates to compare prices on their desired stretches. Users can upload freight rates and compare directly with real-time market rates.
Xeneta develops its monthly XSI (Xeneta Shipping Index) from over 160,000 port-to-port pairings, with over 110 million data points. The range of rates available on this database goes from low to high with mid-low rate and mid-high rate. Freight forwarders are able to negotiate better deals with their suppliers. The sales team reduce the response time to generate a quote and have more confidence in closing a deal. The rates are constantly updated across 57 corridors covering 95% of global intercontinental values.
Xeneta in the press
Founder: Christian Roeloffs, Johannes Schlingmeier
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany
Container xChange is a neutral online platform that more than 300 container users and owners rely on to find SOC containers and identify partners for container repositioning. It helps freight forwarders gain market transparency in 2500 locations and reduce demurrage & detention charges. Started as an online excel file for shipping lines in 2015, the platform now covers the entire one-way transaction from finding partners, contracting, tracking, payment handling and third-party services such as container insurance or surveying.
Traditionally, sourcing a SOC can be long-winded as a shipper would have to reach out to companies, set up legal agreements, negotiate terms, add container insurance and use separate tools for tracking and invoicing afterwards. With the online platform, freight forwarders just type in their pick-up and drop-off location to receive a list of potential partners, if you want to try Smart Search for free click here.
Container xChange in the press
Founder: John Fay
Year founded: 2000
Headquarters: New Jersey, USA
INTTRA is one of the early entrants in the market for an electronic ocean freight booking system which was later developed into a full-fledged software solution for shippers and carriers. Originally founded by the leading ocean carriers to create a standard electronic boking system for the industry, the software now provides Ocean Schedules, trading platform, VGM submission platform, data analytic tools that help shippers improve their performance. Once booked, it also provides details on Transhipment, transit details, vessel details, voyage details and so on.
The Ocean Schedule feature provides information on Transhipment, the location where the cargo will be transferred. The terminal cut-off date informs till when the terminal receives cargo for a certain carrier. Service Name provides the routing information and the ETA and ETD. All this information is available in real-time. INTTRA also provides an empty container reusing platform. Instead of bringing it back to the port or depot, the user can just reuse it, bring it to their export customer for loading.
INTTRA in the press
Founder: Alexander Petkov, Anna Shaposhnikova, Asparuh Koev, Rado Nikolov
Year founded: 2013
Headquarters: Sofia, Bulgaria
Transmetrics offers predictive optimization Software-as-a-Service based on Artificial Intelligence for the cargo transport industry. By using technologies like machine learning, data mining and predictive analytics, Transmetrics’ products help cargo companies to continuously increase their operational efficiency and reduce costs. Transmetrics works with some of the leading cargo companies in the world, including Kuehne + Nagel, DB Schenker, DPDgroup, NileDutch, and more, providing them with the tools for proactive and data-driven decision making.
Their AI-driven software for freight forwarders forecasts customer demand per asset type and geographical area, weeks in advance. This enables forwarding companies to timely plan and efficiently procure the right capacities at each location. Booking the capacity in advance ensures maintaining high service levels and may also minimize procurement costs. Additionally, freight forwarders can deploy dynamic pricing strategies and generate additional revenues by adjusting pricing for irregular and spot market customers, depending on the expected demand.
While big data and artificial intelligence are buzzwords that everyone knows, Transmetrics really understood how to implement these technologies due to the unique combination of the technical know-how and extensive logistics industry experience of its team members.
Transmetrics in the press
Founder: Jett McCandless, Wally Ibrahim
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
Project44 is a Web Service API platform that provides rate and transit time data via APIs to carriers, shippers, 3PLs and transportation management system (TMS) providers in real-time. Project44 has been trying to create awareness of the strength of system communication tools in an industry noted for its use of APIs. Project44’s strength lies in its trademark Advanced Visibility Platform that allows users to base their decisions on high-fidelity data and predictive business intelligence. With their services, freight forwarders know exactly where a shipment is and in what condition it is during every step of the journey.
Project 44 covers the entire supply chain from truckload, sea freight, rail, parcel and last-mile delivery – it allows freight forwarders to connect with all their partners via data integration. With the high-fidelity data technique, Project44 takes the raw data from APIs and cleanses it, consolidates and presents an enriched data to the user. With predictive business intelligence, the platform is able to track the shipments considering the weather conditions, road conditions, traffic patterns and provide accurate ETAs. Project44 then allows you to feed this data into your own systems. Companies that already use their software include FedEx, J.B. Hunt, ABB, Amazon and many more.
Project 44 in the press:
Founder: Mathew Joseph Elenjickal
Year founded: 2015
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
Fourkites is a predictive supply chain platform that helps in real-time tracking. Matt Elenjickal, the Founder and CEO designed Fourkites in 2014 after recognising the pain points of the logistics industry. Many organisations still rely on paperwork, phone calls and emails to manage booking and quotes. With his software, he aims to disrupt the traditional silo-based organisation culture. The machine learning technology helps to share critical load information among the logistics industry. Companies that sign up with Fourkites give access to the shipment data and Fourkites using their integrations with GPS/ELd providers can track the truck and display this information on the Fourkites platform and provide accurate ETAs. The data is shared among its members that pay a monthly subscription fee.
Fourkites products include Core Tracking which lets you track FCL/LCL, ocean, rail and parcel, which provides ETA, customised mobile notifications, and lets only authorised users access this information. The temperature tracking feature developed through their collaboration with telematics is able to track the temperature of cold-chain goods, fresh produce and dairy and helps shippers meet cold-chain requirements. The Carrier Link feature of the platform is developed to enhance the experience of the truck drivers. It helps to create visibility without the use of ELD/GPS connectivity, presents the driver with multiple alternative routing options, and rest areas, convenience stores available on the way.
Fourkites in the press
Founder: Parvez Mansuri
Year founded: 1999
Headquarters: New Jersey, USA
Advent Intermodal Solutions started as a company that developed custom software solutions in the United States and is a merger between the companies Advent Inc., and eModal. eModal’s Saas platforms now enable over 10 million business transactions every year globally. Advent eModal’s Data Services (EDS) for shippers and 3PLs helps to accelerate the speed of transporting the cargo and helps streamline operations. It helps transform container logistics by providing critical port data and several automation features. It uses API to predict cargo availability at 45 different terminals, facilitates direct fee payments, works on order management, scheduling terminal appointments and creating visibility for containers.
For truckers using this solution, it helps to get cargo without searching countless websites. Automates payments to ports and terminals, and also schedules terminal appointments or send arrival notifications which can reduce the turnaround time of the trucks, at the same time providing cargo movement notifications to customers. The software proves extremely useful for chassis and equipment owners, which allows them to submit reports through the website, review maintenance and repair estimates, automates billing features, also allows intermodal users to match with chassis providers. This software also provides solutions for port and terminal management, motor carriers, truckers, and equipment providers. Advent eModal focuses on developing, hosting, maintaining, and enabling IT solutions that allow its users to focus on their core competencies.
Advent eModal in the press:
Founder: Richard White
Year founded: 1994
Headquarters: Chicago, US
CargoWise is an end-to-end freight forwarding software from the company WiseTech Global. WiseTech Global is based in Australia and has been developing logistics solutions since 1994 and more than 12,000 companies use their solutions. CargoWise One promises to increase productivity, integration, communication, and automation within the supply chain. The user can experience a high level of automation which reduce the margin of error immensely. It comes with many integrated enterprise resource planning applications. It has compliance capabilities that help with clearing customs and creates transparency between you and your partners.
It receives automatic updates regarding shipments and sends them to the shippers immediately. It can also facilitate communication with Customs offices, port authorities, depots, agents, shipping lines and so on. It also sends notifications at every milestone of the shipment. It allows for instant booking and can integrate other modules such as trucking, rail and provides a seamless transportation system. Cargowise carries out more than 54,000 transactions annually with 12,000 logistics companies across the world. This cloud-based system secures your data offline and online.
WiseTech Global in the press: