Comment / Forwarder fightback against ‘death threats’ from online freight marketplaces

first_img Another day, another headline: Forwarders under threat! Death of the Middleman! Automate or the industry won’t need you!It’s not the kind of Monday motivation we look for. But it’s true, we should be worried. We’re under attack. New tech start-ups, ‘game-changing’ market entries from the big guys, aggressive competition from our long-term suppliers, all chipping away at the market share we work so hard to maintain.In truth, we’ve been fighting a competitive and saturated market since the business was founded in 1994.It’s been a while since I read any industry news and felt a sense of positivity about the global freight forwarder. Some articles recently have felt more like a smear campaign than news. Is the only way to promote your new venture to attack existing businesses and forwarders in the market? © Alphaspirit Shipping is not just about moving containers from A to B – which is the premise of some of the new tech start-ups. A flat rate, inputted to a system, to quote on a container from one destination to another.On the desk we all know it is so much more.Daily we experience customs clearance issues, customs brokerage, police escort arrangements, specialist handling, extreme weather conditions, short shipments… the list goes on. Are we expecting a machine to process these considerations and make the same arrangements a human would?When I tell my friends that I work for a freight forwarder, they look at me blankly. I guess if you’re not in the industry you’d be forgiven for not knowing the term. I explain that we help importers and exporters transport their goods in a safe, efficient and cost effective way. By our own definition a freight forwarder has specialist knowledge to prepare the types of documents required for moving goods via sea, road, rail or air. There’s pick, pack, storage, distribution, warehousing and trucking considerations that need to work in sync for harmonious supply chains. So let’s say Artificial Intelligence takes our place, how long would it take the machine to find the root of a problem, in one single part of the chain.It’s not that we have anything against new tech start-ups, any entrepreneur developing software designed to make shippers’ lives easier is welcome in our office. When the right online platform comes along we’ll happily embrace it – if it adds value for our customers.I’ve now tried three of the very publicly heralded freight marketplaces, promising to revolutionise global shipping bookings.I entered a FOB 40ft Container from Shanghai to Felixstowe, one of the biggest trade lanes in the world. I was hoping for a plethora of choice and super-competitive rates. Quaking in my boots (thinking about my redundancy pay-out) I waited for the results to load  – only to be greeted with ‘your route cannot be found, sorry no rates found, no results found.’ I couldn’t even enter a destination on one site. Was I doing something wrong?And if I’m feeling like this, imagine what a first-time importer would think?Maybe the freight marketplaces should change their slogans to “making global freight rates so transparent they can’t even be seen.”We’d all welcome a Sky Scanner-style solution to the movement of global freight. It would certainly make our lives easier- but I feel its living in a dream world.Even if we replaced people with amazing digitisation, I would like to hope that the future of our world is not based on faceless online encounters. We visit a car dealership for the experience, the satisfaction of selecting the right product, the trust built from the test drive and the bargaining with the salesman. All these tangible aspects of a sale are still crucial for purchasing decisions. People still value people. They appreciate knowledge as value in the supply chain and lean on expertise. This is something technology can never really replace.We love Andrews Craig Bennett’s article: “War has been declared on forwarders.” Well, if it’s a war they want, try fighting us with the right weapons. We’re fighting back.Kate McCauley is in marketing & communications at Tuscor Lloyds Global Freight Forwarders.center_img By Kate McCauley, Tuscor Lloyds 06/02/2017last_img read more

I pick me

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Industry Consortium Contracted to Run STM Infrastructure

first_img Author: Baibhav Mishra Sea News Feature, March 9 The industry announced the intention to run the STM infrastructure already at the STM conference November 2019 in London. The infrastructure was developed within several STM projects. But as STM is catching on, the operations should be handled by professional actors with the right experience governed by contracts. Kongsberg, Saab and Wärtsilä founded the non-profit Navelink consortium in December 2019, and Combitech is tasked with the actual delivery of the infrastructure and its operations. The infrastructure for the entire Sea Traffic Management (STM) ecosystem has been contracted to the newly formed non-profit industry consortium, Navelink. All existing implementations and the current STM projects will run on a platform with high capacity. “The potential is huge. Imagine if all information to and from hundreds of thousands of vessels, ports and terminals across the world was digitalized and transacted over one common infrastructure using one global standard. But in order to succeed, we need to be humble and develop this step by step in close cooperation with relevant authorities, partners and other actors.” Per Löfbom, Chief STM Architect, says: The contract with the consortium lasts until the end of the ongoing STM projects, to at least July 2021. The infrastructure is open and other actors of the STM ecosystem are very welcome to join, as well as actors outside STM who are looking for stable operational version of the Maritime Connectivity Platform. Anders Wendel, Head of Navelink at Combitech adds: STM infrastructure consortium (Image Courtesy: STM) “The procured Maritime Digital Infrastructure facilitates a loosely coupled service architecture supporting information owner sovereignty. The STM projects, and all the partners, will continue to influence the standards and the architecture development. Having an even more active commercial actor with a deep interest in pursuing infrastructure excellence, will help push the development and implementation of international standards.” There will be professional development and staging environments to ease implementation of new services and updates of the existing ones. “To have a consortium of committed international industry actors running the infrastructure is a natural step towards a global secure interoperable STM infrastructure” says Per Löfbom, Chief STM Architect.last_img read more

Qantas denies economy passengers will have to pay for drinks and food

first_imgQantas has emphatically denied a report that it will be charging economy passengers for meals, drinks, and baggage.The airline was responding to a story carried by Australian Business Traveler related to a survey sent out this week to its Qantas Advisory Panel an invitation-only group of frequent flyers.According to ABT “members are being asked for their thoughts on “pay as you use Qantas flights between Australia and New Zealand”, indicating the busy and highly competitive trans-Tasman routes as a likely launch pad for what has often been a contentious model when adopted by other airlines.”WATCH: Emirates A380 creates a snowy blast However. a Qantas spokesman told AirlineRatings.com there are absolutely no plans to introduce such a fare system.“We often ask questions to get a sense of what the market thinks but that doesn’tmean we intend to do something,” a Qantas spokesman said.“Specifically, on this question, we have no intention on unbundling our fares. Givenwe’re in the middle of rolling out free wifi, we are clearly committed to being a fullservice airline.”Interestingly, however, Air New Zealand has successfully introduced the scheme on its trans-Tasman flights to Australia and as far afield as Perth.However, Qantas has long prided itself on a one-fare policy and Australians are very much welded onto to that model.Unlike Air New Zealand, Qantas has its low fare champion in Jetstar to offer low priced options without food, drinks or baggage.last_img read more

Weekly Wrapup, 3-7 December 2007

first_imgHere is a summary of the week’s Web Tech action on Read/WriteWeb. For those of you reading this via our website, note that you can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapups, either via the special RSS feed or by email.Web News This week the Facebook Beacon saga came to an end, after the company added a global opt-out to their controversial advertising system, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the way they’d handled the rollout. Earlier in the week Facebook’s stance was:We Don’t Collect Info Unless You Opt-In, but by the end of the week it was clear that a global opt-out was the only thing that was going to make the controversy go away.See also Alex Iskold’s in-depth analysis of Facebook and The Myth Of Contextual Advertising, for a critical look at Beacon.In other Facebook news, Facebook apps hit 10k in number – so the web app platform is still going strong, even if the advertising platform is a mess.OpenID 2.0 finally launched this week, after what Marshall Kirkpatrick recently described as “a long, long time of political infighting over either semi-relevant minutea or deal-breaking technical details.” The new version improves security and usability — and will hopefully be the catalyst for more Internet companies to adopt it.A week doesn’t go by these days without some Google news. This week we heard that JotSpot will spawn Google Sites, an intranet and extranet site building tool. Also Compete provided data that showed Google Docs as clear leader in the Web Office market. Finally, Google announced that GMail is adding AIM.In other news this week:Online Ad Spend to Jump in 2008 Thanks to Sports, PoliticsWikipedia to Pay Illustrators3.3 Billion Mobile Phone Subscriptions; 35% of US Tweens Own a Mobile phoneAdobe Debuts Flash Media Server 3 – Slashes PriceUS Congress: Wifi Providers Must Report Dirty Pictures to GovernmentMingleNow to Close 7 January – Forced By Yahoo?Internet to Invade the AirwaysBlog Council Launches, Fumbles on Day OneMicrosoft Advances XBRL Data Standard in the US, Paving Way for Big Innovation In Financial AnalysisWeb ProductsFluc: Put Your Mobile Phone to Work For You Australian startup Fluc is an innovative new mobile advertising network that not only lets publishers monetize their content, but also lets mobile users opt-in to be paid to recieve targeted SMS-based advertisements.Meebo + Platform + VideoEgg Ads Suddenly Makes Business SenseIn a move further differentiating themselves from countless other platform plays, web-IM service Meebo announced this week that they have partnered with VideoEgg to offer Meebo platform participants a 50/50 revenue split from the high-profile video and overlay ad network. While other platforms take a hands-off approach to partner advertising, Meebo is delivering it themselves.BookSwim is Netflix for BooksBookSwim is essentially a Netflix-like rental by mail program for books. You sign up, choose the books you want, they get mailed, you send them back when you’re done and get the next book on your list. Josh Catone had trouble grasping what makes the service useful to the average reader. It may be, however, that the service isn’t useful to the average reader.Other Web products reviewed this week:Recommendation Engine MyStrands Expands War Chest to $55m to Go Beyond MusicMixx, a Gorgeous Digg Competitor, Gets in Bed With LA TimesGroceryGuide Saves You Money on FoodSourceForge.net Launches Open Source Services MarketplaceFacebook not for You? Multiply.com’s Upgrade Looks GreatAnalysisWeb Office: 2007 Year in Review Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#web#Weekly Wrap-ups Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting richard macmanus Other analysis posts:Commercials As Content – 7 Places to Watch Ads On PurposeThe Digg EffectR/WW Network Blogslast100 The big story on our Digital Lifestyle blog last100 this week was Nokia and Universal’s announcement of “Comes With Music” devices . Announced at the annual Nokia World conference, “Comes With Music” will enable customers to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to “millions of tracks”, and, rather surprisingly, get to keep those tracks once the twelve month period ends. Of the four major labels, however, Universal Music is the only one to have signed on. In a follow up post, last100 editor Steve O’Hear noted that “Comes With Music” service will employ Windows DRM. Alt Search EnginesThis week on AltSearchEngines, editor Charles Knight announced The Alternative Search Engine of the Year, 2007. He had narrowed down his popular Top 100 list to 10 finalists, and the winner was…. Quintura! In Charles’ view, Quintura has demonstrated it will “‘rock and shock’ the Search world and alter the staus quo.”Also this week Charles reported live from SES Chicago. Some highlights:Transformaton of Local in a Search-Driven WorldNet Neutraity: “Won’t be fooled again!”Personalization, User Data & SearchRead/WriteTalkThis week Sean Ammirati of Read/WriteTalk stopped by Yahoo’s Brickhouse and bumped into some Irish entrepreneurs, who were touring Silicon Valley. In the resulting interview, Sean noted that it was “a good reminder how far the US has to go, [after] hearing their reflections on how bad broadband and mobile communications are here.”PollThis week Technorati launched a re-design, including a news aggregator frontpage nickamed ‘the Percolator’. We asked RWW readers: Is the Technorati Percolator Useful as a News Aggregator?. The results:Yes, I will use it daily 11% Yes, but only every few days 11%Meh, maybe I’ll check every week or so 5% No, this isn’t useful as a news aggregator 35%Percolator? Isn’t that a coffee maker? 39% The ‘WTF’ option got the most votes, indicating that most people didn’t like (or get?) the percolator concept. But overall, it seems most respondents won’t use Technorati as their daily news aggregator. However Technorati is obviously still a very useful as a place to go for blogosphere links and data.That’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.center_img Over the next few weeks we’ll be reviewing a number of Web product categories on Read/WriteWeb, summarizing what’s happened in 2007 – and what to look forward to in 2008. We started with the Web Office, a market that underwent a lot of changes this year. Probably the biggest change was that Google Apps ramped up this year, starting with the release of Google Apps Premier in February. And 2007 continued the trend of acquisitions in this market, which started in 2006 with the likes of Writely and JotSpot. In 2007 Yahoo acquired Zimbra and Google acquired a number of small startups – including GrandCentral (online telephony service) and Zenter (presentations software). Check out the full article for all you need to know about Web Office in 2007.2008 Will Be The Year of Business Networking In this post Bernard Lunn delivered three reasons for the above prediction, plus six specific predictions and one interesting dark horse. One of the predictions was that there will be a globalization roll-up. There are business networks in Germany (Xing) and France (Viadeo) where LinkedIn does not play well, for simple language reasons. The same may be true in other non-English speaking markets – and if not, the land grab is still open folks! A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts last_img read more

The Changing Nature of “Work”

center_img As some of you probably know, I worked for Ray Ozzie for four years at Groove Networks — he is the gentleman taking over Bill Gates position as Chief Software Architect at Microsoft.  Ray is a most interesting guy.  He has a unique combination of skills that make him a highly effective human being.  One of his unique skills is that he is a bit of a social anthropologist.  He spends a lot of time thinking about the way people work and how the way people work is affected by emerging network technologies.  It is that ability that led him to build Lotus Notes in the 1980’s where he “groked” the emerging networking standards and built a platform that transformed the way workers interacted (email, collaborative databases). When reading the BusinessWeek article and reflecting on the changing nature of work, I thought a bit about our business and how different in nature our work pattern was from my father’s work pattern throughout his career.  He put in a good 60 hours a week for his whole career, including a trip into the office most Saturday mornings to catch-up on things.  Here are a few of the ways in which we are unique relative to the traditional US concept of work. A major influencer on Ray was of the time.  My personal work environment is about 45 hours a week working alone (and via email/telephone) and 20 hours a week working with no privacy — sitting around a table with my co-workers able to see and hear my every move.  It is not for everyone, but I think I get a ton more done by having a lot of privacy to think hard for most of my week and no privacy for part of my week vs. limited privacy the entire week.  We have an office in Cambridge with room for all of us and are free to use it every day.  Despite that, we only go into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and maybe one other day if those two days are too packed or a customer call warrants it.  The three full-time employees (Dharmesh, Patrick, & I) all happen to be night owls.  We all tend to have our highest productivity hours after noon on any given day.  Therefore, our office time on Tuesdays and Thursdays start at noon.  On Tuesdays, we generally stay in the office until around 2am.  I am sure we will have to change some of this as we bring on additional employees with more traditional schedules, but in general I think that modern technology has enabled our company to work in a way that makes us all as productive as possible without the confines of rush hours, long commutes, nosey cubicle neighbors, etc. BusinessWeek Article on BestBuy Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack “The Future of Work” in BusinessWeek about BestBuy’s corporate-wide ROWE Program which stands for Results Only Work Environment.  Here’s the way BestBuy describes what ROWE means to them:  “The official policy for this post-face-time, location-agnostic way of working is that people are free to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as they get their work done.” Originally published Dec 21, 2006 1:02:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 As many of you regular readers have probably figured out by now, the SB2.0 blog is mainly about how to deploy internet technology and strategy in ways to grow your business profitably, primarily around the area of marketing.  This article was a bit off topic, but I hope it was interesting.  If you have some stories about the way your company “works” that you think are best practices, please do share them with us and the rest of our readers…  If you really like this topic, I recommend you read Tom Malone’s book onlast_img read more

Spilling SEO Juice – 3 Dos and Don’ts for Writing Great Page Titles

first_imgDos 1. Be Specific Every page on your site should have a specific purpose. Think about the page in front of you, and try to describe it. If you’re using “and” to combine multiple thoughts on this page, its time to make some new pages. When writing the titles for each of these pages, keep the specifics of the page in mind. If this is a page just about “toasters”, the title should include your keywords centered around “toasters”, and not a more generic keyword phrase like “kitchen appliances”. 2. Be Unique Just like every page title should be specific to each page, you should also make sure that each page title is unique across your entire site. If you’re following the first rule and making sure that every page is laser-focused on a single topic, it should be extremely easy to also make sure that each page title is unique. 3. Be Compelling When you are looking at a search engine results page, there’s only three things that appear for a visitor – the page title, the page description (bonus points if you’ve got a unique and targeted meta description), and your page’s URL. Try and treat your page titles like the titles for your blog posts, and make them compelling. Don’ts 1. Be Repetitive Your page titles shouldn’t include multiple variations of similar keyword phrases. A great example of being bad would be “toaster, toaster oven, kitchen toaster, college toaster, 8 slice toaster, bagel toaster | Chris’ Toaster Emporium”. Titles like this promote worst practices and often lead to having the same page titles used across most (if not all) of the pages in your site. 2. Be Long Anything more than 70 characters is a waste. If you’re not able to describe this particular page with less than 70 characters, then maybe you need to break this down into multiple pages. From a practical standpoint, Google will cut your title off around 70 characters, and you’ll be left with a set of elipses at the end of the title – and everything you’ve written above the 70 character limit is essentially negated. 3. Put Your Company Name at the Front In most cases, your website will already rank high for your company name. Leverage the fact that search engines allocate more weight to the words that appear at the beginning of a page title, and form your titles using your keyword phrases first, and then your company name.Do you have other tips for improving page titles? Photo Credit: needoptic Live Website Optimization: Using Website Grader For Marketing Success Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published May 19, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Join HubSpot Experts for a live session for website review and optimization, providing tips for getting found online. Date & Time: Every Tuesday at 1:00pm ET Submit your site now  for optimization by HubSpot Experts! (2 will be selected)last_img read more