Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, the logistics supply chain industry began to experience difficulties. Due to the air traveler restrictions in most countries, air transport was the first to reduce their normal scheduled flights which disrupt air transport shipments. Then, ocean transport experienced its own set of problems; vessels had to berth longer out of the ocean since ports were operating at half capacity because of the alternating work schedule of its workers. Problems worsened with an increased demand of containers capacity by Asian manufacturers due to an explosive demand by e-commerce. As a result, ocean liners were not quick enough to return empty containers back to Asia, which created a supply chain backlog and a price increase to the industry.
The International Trans-Pacific Ocean freight charges significantly increased over the last two years. For example, the cost of moving shipment from South East Asia regions cost $3,000 USD/container to the US. It gradually increased every other month and reached $11,000 USD/container by December of 2020, an increase of more than 300% in over a year. The cost reached $16,000 to (US-West Cost) and $19,000 to (US-East Coast) in main ports by December 2021. An inland transport to the final destination, for example, Atlanta, costs $26,000/container. Imagine, a container that has 1,000 items from Asia to the US with a transport cost of $3.00 had become $26.00/ item. It is why inflation has been unusually high.
The logistics company (transporter) has been operating an offline business method for decades. Operating business in an offline environment makes operation and administration slow, expensive and non-transparent. Quotations given by transporters listed too many itemized charges, making it difficult for shippers to analyze. Charges at origin and destination varies among transporters. Shippers who want to get five quotations must make inquiries to five different local transporters, requiring about 2-3 days for one quotation to be delivered. Companies using an offline business method lack efficiency and are far behind those who have adapted to technology. We are now living in an online world where platform news, social communication and shopping is done in an instant, and businesses should use a technology platform to its advantage.
Shippers who participate in Logistics Platform would be able to analyze available transporters at Origin and at Destination. Logistics service information is properly displayed and all questions can be answered directly by transporters with the chat feature in the platform. With just a few clicks, shippers will be able to confirm shipments to transporters with transparent detailed services: pricing, schedules, document requirements at origin and at destination. Once the shipment is accepted by transporters, work-order and reminder note are issued by the platform to alert everyone involved. A shipper that paid $26,000 from Jakarta to Atlanta in an offline environment, would only pay $22,500/container in platform business model.
Internet technology is an important factor in our daily lives. The relationship between transporters and their shippers is now more interactive with direct communication. A platform with its embedded algorithm into digitalization would speed up and minimize transporter manual operation and paper administration. The status of delivery in Bangkok can be instantly viewed by the Shipper in Amsterdam. The identity of the truck and driver is available for shippers in Tokyo to track before shipment is released. Digital Proof of delivery in Los Angles is transmitted to the transporter in San Francisco to speed up invoicing and confirmation of acceptance by Shipper. Warehouse space becomes easily searchable with the selection of available warehouse operators where the platform operates. Decision-making is faster with less human involvement and operation becomes simpler.
We are now able to do almost everything using our smartphone, and it has become our identity and trusted 24/7 companion. Any individual with a smartphone can create products and sell online from every corner in the world. There are now more individuals who have joined Global Digital Market as either Buyer or Seller, driving the demand of logistics services. A platform that fits into the Business-Consumer trend will open up new channels and bridge the transition from traditional systems would attract many followers. The integration of the Logistics Industry with Internet Technology will be beneficial for all parties involved. With no barriers, shippers in Jakarta able to make a seamless transaction to select transporter at Jakarta and at Atlanta via smartphone or computer in just a few clicks. Companies that fail to catch up with Digitalization and Automation will lose out their Development Growth to connect the Online World, which demands direct interaction, competitive pricing and consolidated services.