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Air freight carriers move to online pricing, but forwarders prefer old ways

FORWARDERS are testing air freight online rates and bookings on airline websites, but some say it leads to inefficiency, reports London's Loadstar

Air freight carriers move to online pricing, but forwarders prefer old ways

FORWARDERS are testing air freight online rates and bookings on airline websites, but some say it leads to inefficiency, reports London's Loadstar

10 May 2019 - 19:00

FORWARDERS are testing air freight online rates and bookings on airline websites, but some say it leads to inefficiency, reports London's Loadstar.

Forwarders will not spend time looking for a rate on an individual airline to a destination served by multiple carriers, said GSA Airline Services International president Joe Lawrence.



'It's not efficient. A forwarder who wants to find a good rate sends out one e-mail to 15 airlines rather than check online rates one by one,' he said.



Said Cargomind managing director Walter Hoffelner: 'A bundled request for quotes is a better option. Those who don't make the effort simply take one online provider and that's it.'



Mr Hoffelner recalled a two-tonne shipment going to Chicago, for which one airline quoted an all-in rate of EUR1.75 (US$1.95) per kilogramme, but checking with others unearthed an all-in price of EU1.35 a kilogramme.



Pricing platforms that show rates from multiple carriers go some way towards a better view of available pricing, depending on the number and calibre of airlines they host.



WebCargo took a significant step forward last month, when Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo signed up to offer rates, capacity information and booking capability via the platform to more than 14,000 forwarders. And in a first for the industry, the data displays dynamic pricing information.



The move followed trials by WebCargo and AF-KL-MP with Panalpina. Now, real-time online booking capability will be rolled out in a number of countries.



Third-party platforms that aim to aggregate online solutions to spare forwarders the trouble of checking out every airline, are more numerous.



'I am convinced that these online systems will be coming more and more in use, but for us they are only partly the right tool,' said Cargomind's Mr Hoffelner.



But forwarder Cargo Tours prefers to deal with airlines directly. 'We invite the airlines - the ones that still have a rep - to come to the office,' said company president Joe Delli Carpini.


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