Trade Facilitation has a plethora of tools in its arsenal, all uniquely positioned to facilitate cross-border trade for a country and harness the revenue potentials therein. From single window systems, to national Logistics portals, to Logistics e-Marketplaces, there are a wide variety of technology-enabled choices, globally, to ramp up the Digitalization of trade in the end-to-end Logistics value chain.
As an important Trade Facilitation tool, the concept of a Logistics e-Marketplace became feasible a few years ago in most advanced nations. With Digitalization transitioning from being an exception to becoming a norm, technological innovations gradually started trickling down to the Logistics sector. It became simpler for companies to digitize certain processes, which lay the foundation for real-world freight marketplace solutions. These are gaining eminence, a major reason being participation of buyers and suppliers for competitive rates, improved access by customers and scope of exploring new markets.
Be it public sector or private sector initiatives, the benefits build a strong case for the efficacy of Logistics e-Marketplaces for the Trade Facilitation drive of a country. Some of the key benefits of Logistics e-Marketplaces include savings in terms of time and energy, increase in profit margins, increase in the number of quality business leads, optimal freight consolidations, and resource optimization as a result of significant decrease in email communication.
Such Trade Facilitation initiatives aim to forward the commitment of a country’s government to enhance trade competitiveness, create jobs and bolster the country’s performance in global rankings.
The Logistics industry is a diverse ecosystem which is highly disjointed and with siloed infrastructure. Traditional systems and processes used by shippers and carriers, both, have led to a significant degree of opaqueness in Logistics operations due to the absence of any direct communication between the primary parties. Therein lies the potential of the Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplace.
The emergence of Blockchains, Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence and newer technologies has created an immense opportunity for disruptive Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplaces. These e-Marketplaces can optimize operational efficiencies through improved data insights, reduced operating costs, a wider customer base, and streamlined operations.
A Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplace offers Logistics Services on one platform. Service providers can bid for the required services to Service Receivers and the user can select the services based on bid price, time commitment and overall ratings and reviews of the service provider. The Supply chain planning allows for route and cost optimization. Route options are presented for the selected origin and destination pair. The estimated time and cost calculation for different options is shown and the schedules for Air and Ocean are available.
The benefits of the multimodal logistics e-Marketplace are far-reaching and have an impact on a whole host of business functions and stakeholders, such as – service providers, service receivers and government entities.
The entire platform allows for paperless processing. There is an electronic contract exchange with digital signatures. Sharing of scanned documents is available. Regulatory Compliance is one of the crucial benefits that allows for integration with Customs digital system for manifest filling. Getting approvals and required permits from other government agencies are a breeze on the platform. Track & Trace, eDocket, connectivity (with Single Window, Customs, e-Certification authorities) are other core functionalities.
A Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplace enables effective communication between entities through a direct channel as against a network of middlemen. The subsequent benefits of such a Logistics e-Marketplace include increased transparency of industry processes, fair pricing, swifter assignment and dispatch of goods, and the creation of trust among the various stakeholders of the industry. An e-Marketplace provides first and last mile connectivity to farmers, MSME and small business enterprises. It would also enable back-to-back service requests (e.g. Forwarder seeking rates from Transporter, Airline, Ocean Liner, Warehouse Provider, Packaging Provider etc. Each provider would have access to a huge market of other service providers as well. Thus, the Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplace enables all stakeholders to interact with each other without disrupting the existing business models. The benefits of the Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplace are manifold, and for each of the key stakeholders, such as:
- Decrease in logistics cost & delivery time
- Paperless processing
- Get freight rates, quotations at one location
- Convenient booking and option of digital payment
- End-to-end shipment planning
- Real-time tracking of goods
Logistics service providers
- Free promotion of services among possible customers
- Optimum vehicle occupancy
- User rating system based on Service Quality – Higher ratings from user leads to more business
- Paperless processing
- Service provider can access services of other service providers
- Digitization of trade Availability of national-level trade data
- Creating market access to small players
- Positive impact on GDP – E. g. reduction of Logistics cost would lead to increased exports thereby leading to increased forex savings
Multimodal Logistics e-Marketplaces are leading the way forward in the Trade Facilitation initiatives of the Logistics industry. The benefits far outweigh the investments in terms of time and cost and the transparency, visibility, and the optimization and streamlining of processes are just the tip of the iceberg. Digitalization is rapidly making these technology-enabled process simplifiers a good bet for Logistics stakeholders across the globe.