WebCargo has launched an e-booking platform in partnership with the ECS Group – directly within the system that forwarders have been using for years.
This means instead of having to learn how to use each airline’s individual online systems or sending emails with no structure, forwarders can send in booking requests directly from their pricing platform.
WebCargo chief executive officer, Manuel Galindo says: “WebCargo then integrates with ECS’s system, eliminating costly maintenance and data entry for all parties involved. The booking status can then be seen from both the forwarder’s interface and the GSA’s in real time. It’s a huge time saving for forwarders, GSA’s, and airlines.”
Galindo says the system is flexible in how messaging is passed between the forwarder and the airline/GSA and ideally it uses FFR/FFA messaging as the method of communication between systems, although there are many ways of getting the information.
Time savings seem to be the biggest benefit as the same shipment details used to initially generate pricing is also then used for customer pricing quotations, and then sent in to the airline or GSA – eliminating duplicate and triplicate entry.
Galindo says add to that the ease of being able to process all bookings from the same platform, and you have made forwarders’ “lives worlds easier”.
He says it has also launched a new product within its interface called the ‘Online Shop’, allowing forwarders to give customers access to their own pricing details in a safe and secure online environment. WebCargo has gained the ISO 27001:2013 certification and Galindo says this is an integral part of what it does.
Galindo feels the biggest challenge is a lack of industry standardisation. He explains: “A technological development that works extremely well in one country, may have little to no positive influence in another for a variety of factors. We believe where other types of technology fall short is that there is no “one size fits all” solution.”
He adds systems should “work for them” not the other way round and operators need to be the ones in the “driver’s seat” of any technological innovation, while there is resistance to new technology as many have closed minds and want to do things the way they always have, while some are sceptical due to data security concerns.
As for if airfreight has fallen behind in technology adoption, he says pricing, structure, and rate management is “light years ahead” of sea freight which is more advanced for documentation.