Lufthansa Cargo on Course for Digitization with Freightos
Lufthansa is pushing forward with the digitization of its processes. Thanks to a cooperation with the internet platform provider Freightos, participating airfreight forwarders can now check prices and capacity digitally, but also book directly.
The manual processes in the airfreight industry are time consuming – and therefore cost money too. While cargo flights only last a few hours, the total transit time is often still several days. Lufthansa Cargo is aiming to speed things up with further digitization, especially of bookings for their own freight capacity. The airline has been working on this for the last few months with the online platform Freightos WebCargo. Now, Lufthansa Cargo customers can not only find information about rates, surcharges and capacity at the click of a mouse, they can book online at real-time prices too – a first for the industry. This gives hundreds of forwarders who already work with Freightos WebCargo access to an eBooking tool that will significantly speed up their work. For now, the application is only available for the largest European airfreight markets, but there are plans to expand it worldwide in the coming months.
Röhlig Logistics, a forwarding company with headquarters in Bremen, was involved in the pilot phase of the new IT solution from the beginning. “The new booking functionality makes it easier for us,” says Dirk Schneider, on board as Global Airfreight Director at Röhlig since 2013. “Previously, our employees had to manage the booking process in two parts: they could use the WebCargoNet application to see the airlines’ rates, but could not book shipments. To do this, they either had to contact the airlines by phone or go to their websites, which was relatively time consuming. Unfortunately, the new booking functionality is only available for Lufthansa Cargo for the time being.”
Schneider does not want to put a number on the amount his company saves with the new booking system yet. “These are small improvements that help us to become more efficient, something we are aiming for with the digitization and automation of all of our processes.”
Direct booking is made possible with complex interface programming, for which Lufthansa Cargo uses an Application Programming Interface (API). This is the only way Freightos WebCargo can access the relevant data from the airline directly and digitally.
“EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT DIGITIZATION IN AIRFREIGHT, BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT IS JUST TALK”“
ZVI SCHREIBER, FREIGHTOS CEO
“Everyone is talking about digitization in airfreight, but most of the time it is just talk,” says Zvi Schreiber, CEO of Freightos. Over the last few years, he has already developed what he describes as the world’s largest airfreight tariff database. However, this database only supports manual ad-hoc pricing. “The on-demand booking service now available is a huge leap forward. It also means that cargo gets to its destination more quickly, as the transit period is reduced to one day. This saves dozens of dollars per shipment.”
Of course, Global Airfreight Director Schneider is already planning the next step. “It is conceivable that, with our Röhlig systems, we may be able to communicate directly with the booking solutions at Lufthansa Cargo and other airlines too in the future. Then our employees would no longer have to go via the portal. That would have some benefits – we are already holding initial discussions.”
Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos: Freightos, Lufthansa Cargo