THE NEXT LEVEL OF DIGITIZATION

In contrast to its passenger service, Lufthansa is maintaining and even expanding its cargo connections during the Corona crisis in order to ensure supply chains are maintained. The Lufthansa Cargo fleet reports that it is running at full capacity. The new, recently introduced digital booking options are facing their acid test.
With their “smartBooking” application, for example, the cargo airline now has another new digital interface. This API (Application Programming Interface) provides the airline’s customers and partners with a binding quote that can be booked online immediately. APIs are the latest digital technology and enable Lufthansa’s system-to-system communication, both with booking platforms and directly with forwarders.

The online service includes the available routes, capacities as well as prices and performs all the relevant checks automatically, meaning bookings can be made in real time and confirmed immediately. With the launch of “smartBooking”, Lufthansa Cargo says it has now completely digitized its quote and booking process.

“WE WANT TO OFFER OUR CUSTOMERS SEAMLESS DIGITAL SOLUTIONS, SO WE ARE CONNECTING DIGITALLY WITH OUR PARTNERS ALONG THE TRANSPORT CHAIN.”

PETER GERBER, CEO, LUFTHANSA CARGO

In addition to Lufthansa Cargo’s direct customers, partners such as the rapidly growing Berlin-based platform cargo.one can also use the smartBooking API to make their platforms even more informative and customer-oriented with immediate access to available capacities and prices. “We want to offer our customers seamless digital solutions. To achieve this, we connect digitally with our partners along the transport chain,” says Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. “smartBooking is another major step in our digital transformation process. As the interface to our customers, APIs will continue to gain in importance.”
Oliver T. Neumann, Managing Director of cargo.one, is pleased: “We are the first partner to benefit from Lufthansa Cargo’s new smartBooking API and we create real added value as a digital sales channel with significant booking volumes. Our goal is to further boost added value and efficiency in the airfreight industry.” Airfreight customers can access the cargo.one booking platform directly via the Internet. In addition, the API also allows Lufthansa Cargo data to be directly integrated into customers’ systems. The airline had already joined forces with the digital booking platform cargo.one in July 2018. Today, in addition to Lufthansa Cargo’s own eBooking channel, the platform is a particularly fast-growing third-party sales channel.

“WE ARE CONTINUING TO EXPAND OUR DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS, THUS SIGNIFICANTLY ACCELERATING AND SIMPLIFYING OUR BOOKING PROCESS.”

DOROTHEA VON BOXBERG, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, LUFTHANSA CARGO

The newest smartBooking customer is the digital start-up freight forwarder Fleet based in Portland, USA, in which Lufthansa Cargo invested a first round of financing at the beginning of 2018. Since then, teams from both companies have continuously worked on digital channels to simplify the quote and booking options for Fleet’s customers in the airfreight business. The ultimate goal is “to modernize the historically complex airfreight industry to bring it to a higher level of digital maturity,” as a Lufthansa Cargo spokesman put it.

Speaking of digital sales channels, Lufthansa Cargo has now updated these to include dynamic, immediately bookable, daily updated prices. They are automatically generated in real time using an algorithm and issued as quotes that are directly bookable. “With these automated spot prices, we can give our customers quotes at any time. We are continuing to expand our digital distribution channels, thus significantly accelerating and simplifying our booking process,” says Dorothea von Boxberg, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo.

“OUR GOAL IS TO FURTHER BOOST VALUE CREATION AND EFFICIENCY IN THE AIRFREIGHT INDUSTRY.”

Oliver T. Neumann, Managing Director at cargo.one

Lufthansa Cargo already uses the so-called Rapid Rate Response algorithm on all its own booking channels. Currently, the system is already generating spot price quotes for all customers active in the pilot markets Thailand, Vietnam, North and Northeast India, Beijing, Middle East, Iran, Turkey, large parts of the USA, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Cologne and Stuttgart. Lufthansa Cargo plans to gradually expand the system by the end of 2020 and then deploy it worldwide.
Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos: Lufthansa Cargo, cargo.one
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