Commercial maritime (sea & ocean-related) shipping has been around for more than a millennia, businesses worldwide mostly relied on traditional & analogue methods in terms of route, freight management, booking, communication and so on till now. it was not until recently that this changed. But a new era of technological advancement is changing the way the shipping industry runs ocean freight through digitalization. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, internet of things (IoT), and blockchain are being integrated into maritime shipping, allowing the industry to make better-informed decisions as it cruises through time. Ships have become hubs for sensors; transmitting data through satellite communication, often in real-time to improve efficiencies of the voyage. Digitizing has various benefits ranging from business models & offerings to the very core of a business such as systems and fleet management, technology plays an essential role in tracking commercial ships that carry LCL and FCL freight containers. Click to know more here about such an example of the impact of digitalization in the ocean freight shipping industry, which constitutes 90% of global commercial shipping in volume today.
How digitalization has helped the shipping industry:
Online Booking Model:
Most of the bookings for FCL freight today are now done online. Not only bookings, requesting freight quotations, managing import/export-related documents, tracking and contacting customer support are all done online now. Most businesses found it way more efficient to adapt to an online platform to run business so that their customers can make informed decisions without delays. It also improved the relationship between customer and shipping companies, acquiring a new customer has become significantly easier. A seamless customer journey through the services offered is helping the businesses grow faster.
E-Commerce is rapidly evolving in recent times which is impacting ocean freight too. Manufacturers all around the world can do business with various clients and even directly with consumers through E-Commerce. LCL and FCL freight are commonly used methods of shipping for vendors who sell goods online globally. This has improved the demand for maritime shipping as well as profitability margins. Shipping services are now able to do marketing across channels to acquire clients and catering to their shipping needs in various volumes. Discoverability has increased and communication has strengthened.
Tracking & Analytics:
Tracking is a major advancement, it plays a vital role in customer’s trust in the shipping companies. Ships and Containers can be tracked almost real-time and using various sensors shippers can update the cargo condition and safety to their clients. Not only during the voyage, but LCL and FCL freight can also be tracked during inland transit and waiting. Shippers can communicate efficiently with both parties in origin and destination to make shipping easier. Voyages to various destinations are updated every day. Optimization in trade networks and routing using big data and analytics helps save fuel and decrease emissions. Predictive analytics has helped the decision making with the use of advanced data and technologies. With the use of advanced systems and machinery, the margin of error has reduced greatly in freight.
Studies believe that digitalization will have a bigger impact on how the ocean freight business is run in the coming decades. The cost of transportation, however, is a challenge the businesses are encountering in developing countries. Companies can add great value to their existing services using technology. Automation and robotics are already being used in the loading and unloading of goods. Added security and digital trail improved the efficiency of the business as well as customer satisfaction. Digitalization and technology are paving the way for efficient and smart vessel design and floating warehouses in the great oceans.