INTTRA has announced it will soon pilot making carrier rates information available online to shippers in a standardised format as a potential expansion of its service offering.
Assigning time for a Shipping Gazette™ interview during a whistle- stop New Zealand visit last week, INTTRA president and chief operating officer Inna Kuznetsova spoke positively about the potential enhancement to the shipment planning, booking and tracking network.
“Today the rates that are negotiated between the carriers and the shippers are not only individual for the big shippers, but also every carrier has their [own set of charges],” said Ms Kuznetsova.
“Those rates are finalised in an Excel format and manually entered into the rate management or transportation management system by the shipper.
“Unfortunately, some of those components keep changing throughout the year. In the peak season, those charges can change daily and, every time, a group of people [in local offices] have to pick up that file and have to manually go through the system and make the changes.
“This results not only in manual errors, which can be deadly in terms of contracts and invoicing, but may result in higher labour costs and delays. Over 40% of invoicing in ocean shipping has some kind of errors and requires extensive reconciliations and delays in payment, impacting the cashflow.
“So it has been a long-time shippers’ dream to get those rates provided electronically and flowing right into the rates management system or some kind of a system from which they can pull them out.
“The participating carriers also tell us they see this as an extended service to the freight-forwarders and the possibility to differentiate themselves as providing a better service, at a time when differentiating by rates becomes more difficult.”
Describing Australasia as a “big market”, Ms Kuznetsova said her fleeting visit had been “very helpful” in providing greater understanding of the needs of local INTTRA customers, which could potentially
“I believe we are crossing the line whereby digitalisation is now accelerating globally across the shipping industry and particularly in New Zealand and Australia. We have had a number of new, big clients coming into the INTTRA portal last year — top exporters out of both countries.”
Given the rapid expansion of digitalisation in the shipping world, Ms Kuznetsova noted the INTTRA platform was becoming increasingly relevant to carriers seeking new means of differentiating in the “difficult” circumstances of low rates and
“We have started seeing the business case of using technology becoming more and more attractive. We are seeing more and more formerly-manual customers adopting technology and I hope that the process will be fully beneficial for New Zealand.”
Albeit, Ms Kuznetsova lamented that a large number of local shippers were still completing shipping transactions via phone and E-mail.
“Digitalising the process not only reduces the cost of shipping and reduces the error, but it also helps to keep all of the data in a digital format so this data can be connected to other sources of data — for example, financial data — and certain business knowledges can be applied to drive efficiencies.
“Processing containers and performing analytics [digitally] helps the companies to move closer to an intelligent supply chain.”
In May, having handled over four million requests for container bookings or shipping instructions globally for the first time in a single month, INTTRA has already superseded that figure by about 30,000 in July, added Ms Kuznetsova.
“INTTRA grew 13% globally year to year in a market where the overall number of containers was flat to
2-3%, depending on what source you use.
“We are very happy with our growth — we continue to grow this year above the market, we continue to add new customers to our network and new carriers. We will continue to expand as well as adding other services and products.”
INTTRA key facts
Reportedly the world’s largest neutral digital ocean shipping platform, INTTRA processes over 800,000 containers each week — equating to one out of four containers shipped globally. Other key facts and figures of the New Jersey-headquartered network include:
- over 60 leading ocean carriers and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs);
- 30,000-plus shippers in over 200 countries;
- over 150 software partners;
- 40%-plus global container visibility; and
- over 25% market share.