Digitalisation: Providing real-time information

Digitalisation IT & Technology
In these challenging times, accurate information helps companies make decisions, which is what WebCargo by Freightos is offering with its Airline Dashboard. We spoke to CEO Manel Galindo to find out more.

Pictured: Manel Galindo, CEO of WebCargo by Freightos

Global air cargo volumes have been falling since the start of 2022, going back to pre-pandemic levels.

Rates are coming down due to the falling demand combined with rising capacity.

The Airline Dashboard from WebCargo by Freightos gives airlines the right insights, says CEO Manel Galindo, helping them understand client behaviour.

Factors include whether freight forwarders are buying services based on transit times, prices or loyalty so airlines can create the right pricing strategies.

Quality data is essential for any industry with Galindo commenting, “The platform is giving the right information to create the right strategy from a product perspective, how you want to offer the service to the clients and from a pricing perspective.”

The biggest difference between WebCargo’s products and the others is it offers real-time insights, not what happened a few weeks ago.

Galindo says, “Many carriers are moving to dynamic pricing, what is important is to know what is happening today. You need to understand if the number of searches are decreasing, does this mean demand is going down? All these insights are in real time so you can make decisions much faster than before.”

The system was tested for a year before launch and the feedback from airlines has been positive.

Testing has given the system enough information, which has to be anonymous, to provide the right insights.

More data means more insights on different trade lanes.

Galindo comments, “All the airlines that have been testing the system find the insights really interesting and help understand the market. Sometimes as a business owner, you can think demand is going down because the clients are telling you that but you don’t have the data to contrast that in real time. We are providing that information.”

Freight forwarders have their own insights and WebCargo’s insights provides them with extra data.

They need capacity and prices in real time, with Galindo joking the shipper wants their shipment delivered yesterday, so if airlines can provide them with information and the forwarder can understand it, they will know if they have the right product.

“This will help improve the service airlines offer freight forwarders. If the airlines are using this data and improving the service they offer to their clients, everybody will be more than happy with the results because they will be able to understand the needs of their clients,” says Galindo.

Digital drive
Galindo says the pandemic was a driver for digitalisation with over 20 airlines now signed up to WebCargo’s platform.

Fewer airlines have signed up in recent months, not because of a lack of interest, but because digitalising an airline is not a quick or easy job.

Galindo predicts things will pick up again at the end of this year and into next year.

“Even though we are in a weak market, airlines see digitalisation and selling online as important; they understand the importance of investment. Many years ago, the passenger business was important and sometimes the cargo business was forgotten about, but during Covid the majority of revenue came from cargo so airlines see the importance of digitalising cargo,” says Galindo.

When Galindo founded WebCargo in 2008, an industry goal was to develop electronic bookings but airline systems were not ready to offer capacity and prices in real time so nobody would book online.

In 2018, Lufthansa Cargo offered APIs, followed by Air France- KLM Martinair Cargo and IAG Cargo the following year.

These early adopters were able to manage and communicate prices more effectively and the rest of the market noticed.

Galindo says, “There was a moment when many flights were cancelled so you had to send messages and call freight forwarders; now you get an email or a message through your platform and you know in seconds if your flight has been cancelled or updated. They saw airlines had an advantage managing that situation.”

The product will need to keep developing and evolving because client needs will continue to change.

WebCargo is helping freight forwarders sell online with its sales portal.

Galindo says, “I think the future is helping freight forwarders to use that technology to sell online to be more efficient and offer quotes faster.”

This article was published in the October 2023 issue of Air Logistics International, click here to read the digital edition and click here to subscribe.