What is the world’s largest, innovative, and forward-thinking e-booking platform doing with FAX? All this talk about digitalization, and then we go back to paper? CFG asked Zvi Schreiber,
CEO of Freightos Group, for clarification.
Fax? Paper? Those were my immediate thoughts, too, talking to Zvi Schreiber, CEO of Freightos Group, at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium on 13OCT21. Yet, FAX is certainly not what you might automatically associate it with. It is very much the forefront of digitalization and a world premiere that will enable WebCargo’s over 30 airlines gain real-time insights into their price performance, pitted against the other (anonymous) airlines on the many different trade lanes each week. “It’s an index!” Zvi explains, and now my mind spontaneously links FAX with DAX. “The aim of the Freightos Air Index is to help airlines use real-time data for more sophisticated and dynamic pricing while giving transparency to the industry as a whole. Our vision from the outset, has been to make digital booking for air (and sea) cargo as seamless and easy as it is in passenger travel. Therefore, airlines should get transparency over price levels, cancellation rates, and other KPIs. Forwarders and shippers deserve transparency too.”
It all started in a dorm
Like so many huge companies around the globe, today, WebCargo started off very humble and small – not in a garage, this time, but in a college dormitory, Zvi tells me. It was Manuel Galindo’s brainchild in Barcelona together with Enric Alventosa, both still with the company. Five years ago, WebCargo and Freightos merged and were the largest freight forwarder platform for air rates. But those rates were static, based on Excel sheets, at least until 2 years ago, when the definitive move was taken into Digital Air Cargo (DAC) – a full, innovative e-booking outlook. “The last three years have been a revolution,” Zvi exclaims. “The first three big air cargo groups to offer DAC on WebCargo were Lufthansa Cargo in 2018, followed by IAG, and Air France Klm Martinair Cargo, and this has now grown to more than 30 airlines. LATAM are our latest partners, as we announced yesterday.” Around 2,500 freight forwarders now have access to 40% of the world’s cargo capacity in real time. “The last 2 years have really taken off, if you’ll pardon the pun,” he smiles, “We’ve seen an incredible 2000% growth!” Forwarders have adopted digitalization very quickly – and while Covid-19 certainly pushed this forward due to all the schedule and rate instabilities caused by the major upheaval in aviation, Zvi feels that “a certain inflection point” had already been reached just prior to the pandemic.
There is still a lot of growth ahead
“There is still a lot of growth ahead of us, because the majority of bookings are still being done offline, today,” he says. And those bookings being done online, are generating masses of useful data that are not yet being put to best use. The opportunities for improved revenue management appear almost endless to me. I ask where he sees the industry in five years’ time. “I am very careful with predictions these days,” he laughs – understandably, naturally. We have all been through the same, after all. “In five years, I expect that all standard bookings – all those bookings that are not particularly difficult or unusual – will be fully digitalized for all standard shipments,” he predicts, “and we do hope WebCargo will remain the leading platform for eBookings.”
FAX in a nutshell – extracts from the official Freightos press release
FAX stands for Freightos Air Index, and has been developed to “provide free, reliable industry visibility by leveraging real time transactional air cargo data” against the challenging backdrop of “fluctuating prices and changing capacity”. It is “a ground-breaking air cargo index based on transactional air cargo prices. FAX provides comprehensive pricing visibility across weight breaks, trade lanes, and hundreds of airport pairs. The index is published each Sunday with data from the prior week.” Currently in “a free open beta phase, as additional lanes and features continue to be made available. It consists of a headline index of pricing across global air cargo lanes, weighted based on trade lane activity, as well as price comparisons across trade lanes, airport pairs, and weight breaks.” Freightos underlines the importance of data security and privacy, and emphasizes that the tool was designed in consultation with the competition law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, to ensure compliance. “All of the data used is leveraged from transactional data points from a variety of sources across the Freightos ecosystem, leveraging a data set that includes over one hundred million data points. Data security and privacy is critical to Freightos; all data used is done so with full permission for usage in this aggregated and anonymous fashion”.
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