In the ‘good old days’ of air freight rates, stipulated by IATA, the pricing architecture was crystal clear. But once global aviation ventured into a liberalized environment, some 50
years ago, the era of centrally determined rates came to a sudden end. With the consequence that the airlines’ pricing policies, including their confusing regime of charges and surcharges, became
This is changing now – thanks to digital booking platforms that tend to shed light on the pricing issue.
What followed the decade-long rate jumble were all-in prices offered by some freight airlines. They are easier to work with, but the scheme based on unified rates and surcharges and combining them to a single price, continues lacking full transparency. Hence, for most of the carrier’s “esteemed clients” the rate issue remained being a guessing game.
The good news is, however, that changes are taking place – thanks to the advancing digital culture that tends to revolutionize the business at remarkable speed. The first to join the bandwagon were innovative start-ups offering the market instant wholesale rates and booking options through their online portals. Through this step the widespread guessing game about price policies in air cargo might come to an end.
New booking channels make rates transparent
One of these digital natives that started rocking the industry is newcomer cargo.one. It’s a Berlin-based start-up that enables forwarders or GSAs to book their consignments on a specific flight at a specific and entirely transparent rate with a simple click. An astonishing emergence of a new distribution channel, facilitating live spot rates, direct booking confirmation and trace and track solutions – all to be carried out instantly and monitored in real-time.
Thanks to cargo.one and alike newcomers, the rate jungle is demystified, air freight prices and capacity reservations become fully visible. Although only for standard freight so far. Other, more sophisticated products are still waiting in line to be integrated in online distribution channels. However, this seems to be just a matter of time. Meanwhile, Lufthansa Cargo has acquired 15 percent in cargo.one, this way advancing their digitalization strategy. Finnair Cargo followed suit in mid-March, joining the spot booking platform cargo.one as well. Prior to that, LH Cargo bought into the Portland, Oregon-based digital freight forwarding platform Freight Logistics, without disclosing the amount spent.
HashMove develops consol portal together with NAP
With logistic firms becoming increasingly digitalized, a growing number have tapped into this market niche, offering the booking of cargo shipments at spot rates. One of these players is Dubai-based HashMove that just signed a collaboration agreement with Neutral Air Partner (NAP) aimed at developing a digital B2B air freight consolidation platform. “The new NAC consolidation portal will be available exclusively to freight forwarders and transport related companies worldwide and will be providing instant airfreight wholesale rates and bookings, as well as consolidation schedules from and to over 100 airports worldwide,” reads a joint NAC and HashMove release.
Consolidations to more than 100 airports
Neutral Air Partner is a global network of air cargo architects and aviation specialists. The organization is based in Hong Kong and presently consists of 250 like-minded air cargo experts from 90 countries. This makes the group into one of the largest air cargo providers worldwide, in terms of tonnage and revenue.
States Nadeem Hussain, Head of Partnerships and Alliances at HashMove: “Combining NAP’s extensive experience and expertise in air freight with the technological capabilities of HashMove, will open up new and innovative ways for logistics providers to conduct business which will transform traditional notions of efficiency and routes to market. This is the first of many initiatives we are planning to release with NAP which will bring enhanced value to the logistics community as a whole.”
In a nutshell, it seems that digital booking platforms, providing instant air freight wholesale rates and booking options, will demystify the still non-transparent price policy of many cargo carriers step by step.
Certainly, a desirable development.