Going the Distance, The First Mile and The Final Mile

Shipco has the expertise to transport freight around the world, be it imports, exports or cross-trades between countries, by air, sea and over land. Ryan Murphy, VP U.S. Inland & E-commerce, and Antoni Dabrowski, Director, eBusiness, discuss Shipco’s TMS platform and how the synergy with our eBusiness platform delivers comprehensive freight management solutions to customers.

Ryan Murphy

VP U.S. Inland & E-commerce

Q. What can you tell us about Shipco’s first and final mile offerings?

Shipco’s air and ocean consolidations cover more than just port-to-port or airport-to-airport, being that we also arrange for the collection of shipments and provide door delivery worldwide on export, import and foreign-to-foreign moves. Our first and last mile services are a natural extension of our air freight and ocean freight products.

Q. How has consumer behavior impacted first and final mile moves within the U.S. market?

The U.S. trucking market is softening following an all-time high as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are obviously a lot of variables today such as inflation that is slowing down consumer demand and then also oversupply. As the contents of the containers that have been stacked up at the ports are starting to find their way to the importers, fewer orders are being made. Many suppliers are working through the previous inventory ordered years ago. You don’t see the same congestion in the market which is reflected in DAT’s recent dry van heat map.

Q. How is Shipco’s inland product a value-driven solution for customers?

Where I think Shipco’s inland product has become more relevant for freight forwarding customers is closely tied to what is happening in the market. Our customers are trying to do more with less and still be competitive in the space. With carriers raising rates to historic highs, some freight forwarders found managing their own carrier contracts to be too resource intensive. And this is where Shipco is able to step in and take on handling of carrier contracts through what we offer. Our customers know Shipco has the expertise, technology and the pricing in place, as well as the overall strategy to help them remain competitive.

Q. How does Shipco mitigate pricing volatility in an ever-changing market?

Using our technology, we have the ability to steer cargo to certain carriers. That helps keep pricing sustainable for our customers and limits volatility in rates. There is stability when it comes to working with Shipco.

Q. Why is the right carrier mix so important?

When capacity started to dry up in the market in the third quarter of 2020, our large carrier mix which we had tripled earlier in the year, really helped our customers. We’re starting to reduce the number of carriers in our carrier mix because capacity issues are no longer present. More importantly, we’ve secured sustainability with our pricing by steering cargo to those carriers that are the best fit for Shipco and for our customers.

Q. What does Shipco’s Transportation Management System bring to the table?

Shipco’s Transportation Management System (TMS) and the way we manage our less-than-truckload (LTL) pricing was initially designed for responding quickly to requests for U.S. inland rates from our overseas offices and agents.

Through the TMS, our colleagues put in their origin, destination, ZIP code, whether it's the origin CFS or destination CFS, and they can complete their quote to their client, obtaining full door-to-door price instantaneously. In addition to the U.S., and much like overseas, our offices in Canada can get cross-border rates between the U.S. and Canada and in many instances, between Canada and Mexico.

Since then, our TMS is also used widely in the U.S. to be able to quickly quote and turn around pricing to customers for domestic shipments. U.S. based customers are given the ability to go in and get LTL rates without having to send a request by e-mail or phone a Shipco offices here in the U.S. Any customer of Shipco’s can access our LTL pricing in the TMS if located in the U.S., or via one of our customer-facing platforms in shipco.com or Air2Z.

Q. How does Shipco’s TMS cater to the freight forwarding market?

There are many variables that go into to LTL pricing, such as fuel and freight classification, or high-cost delivery areas incurring additional fees by carriers. The pricing from regional and national LTL carriers can be difficult to read outside of a TMS environment.

The first advantage to our customers is that they do not need to know what freight classification is tied to their commodity. We use the shipments’ density to assign a freight class that will be consistent with how the LTL carrier structured their pricing for Shipco.

Another benefit for Shipco’s customers is rate accuracy. Changes in weight or dimensions of the freight from what was used in the initial quote will change the shipments density, it can often change the freight class. With the way our pricing is structured, the pricing change is not going to be as extreme due to an increase in weight as it would if you jumped to a higher freight class. In this sense, our pricing structure is catered specifically to the freight forwarding market.

Q. How does the TMS fit into the equation for first and last mile service on international shipments?

Within our eBusiness suite on shipco.com are our ocean freight and air freight rate platforms, AccuRate and Air2Z which are integrated with the TMS. Pricing from those platforms is coming directly from the TMS.

Q. What do you foresee in the future of Shipco’s inland product?

Customers are seeking solutions as the need to balance service and costs are coming to the forefront. We are working to integrate our TMS directly with our customers ERPs in the U.S. That is something we project will become more of a need as freight forwarders look for efficiencies, whether it be in rating, tracking or in the actual accrual of the freight charges and invoice of the freight charges.

Back in August 2021, we added the full truckload brokerage or full truckload service. We are also working on a business plan for drayage to have more complete service offerings for our domestic product in the near future.

Antoni Dabrowski

Director, eBusiness

Q. What can you tell us about Shipco’s eBusiness platform?

Our eBusiness tools put convenience at our customers’ fingertips, creating an end-to-end freight management experience through a single access point, housed on shipco.com. The website connects all modes of service covering air and ocean - both LCL and FCL, as well as inland transportation on imports, exports and foreign-to-foreign moves. Customers have round-the-clock access and can instantaneously quote, book, track, in addition to looking up schedules and rates when they log on to shipco.com.

Q. How does the eBusiness portal deliver operational efficiencies to customers?

Our processes are documented at each step, from pickup to delivery so customers can conveniently review each shipments’ status and track its progress in real time. Notifications and alerts can also be managed digitally and automated upon logging in to the portal.

In addition to the milestones Shipco generates, customers also have access to carrier milestones which we get directly from the many carriers we have integrated with. We make these milestones available to our customers which is a huge value-add in terms of transparency and trackability, so our customers can forward plan and make informed decisions on their shipments.

Ultimately, Shipco’s online tools help our freight forwarder customers do more, which is not only beneficial cost-wise, but also allows considerable savings in terms of their time and manpower by helping accelerate work processes.

Q. What can we expect from Shipco’s future online eBusiness platform?

Creating a seamless user experience is at the core of our online offerings. We have a new platform being developed which will help expand the capabilities of our customers with their global shipments on Air and Ocean – LCL/FCL from start to finish.

Users will be operating through a dynamic and exciting user interface with self-intuitive workflows.

Quick turnarounds have become an increasingly important competitive tool to secure business. For this reason, our new platform is designed to operate in a self-service environment creating agility in managing shipments. We look forward to sharing more with our customers in the near future.

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