Note: This article refers to Freightos.com. Want to learn more about our other business units? Follow the links for info on Freightos Data and WebCargo.
In this article we will cover:
- How Freightos.com differs from freight forwarders. In short, we function as a neutral platform that helps importers or exporters compare, book, and manage shipments across multiple forwarders
- The advantages of booking on a marketplace, including transparency and vendor selection
- The complexities of a freight marketplace and how we solved them
- The relationship between freight forwarders and Freightos.com customers and how carriers (airlines, ocean liners, and trucking companies) fit in
- Additional information about things like customs brokerage, Amazon FBA sales, and more
Is Freightos.com a freight forwarder?
People often ask us if we’re a freight forwarder. The answer is no – we’re not a freight forwarder – but if you’re an importer or exporter, we understand the confusion.
That’s because you can book a shipment through Freightos.com, just like you can book one with a freight forwarder.
But Freightos.com is not itself a freight forwarder. We are actually a freight marketplace that connects importers and exporters with dozens of freight forwarders and logistics providers for more transparent, simple, and straightforward global freight.
What is Freightos.com?
Freightos.com is a global freight marketplace that digitizes freight forwarder rates, and, using innovative technology, allows importers and exporters to compare millions of routing and pricing options and book instantly.
Think of it like Amazon, where instead of buying directly from one company, shoppers have access to many companies and can find the one that’s best for them.
Our goal at Freightos.com is to provide a better shipping experience by helping you find the right freight solution. You can choose the right routes, modes, and logistics providers for each shipment without the headache of moving between forwarders.
By bringing instant freight rates from multiple freight forwarders, along with shipment and exceptions management, to one platform, we help importers and exporters cut down the time and money they spend dealing with freight.
What is a marketplace?
Simply put, a marketplace brings together buyers and sellers. Amazon connects buyers with sellers of all kinds of goods, Booking.com connects travelers with airlines, car rentals, and accommodations, and Uber connects riders with drivers.
A freight marketplace connects importers and exporters with freight forwarders, allowing importers and exporters to find, compare, book, and manage all their global freight services in one place.
Marketplaces give buyers the ability to compare multiple sellers easily across a variety of metrics – pricing, reliability, performance, and more – rather than checking them out one by one. Being able to see sellers side-by-side saves you time on research since you can compare prices instantly and see reviews from other buyers.
Many marketplaces also stay involved in the purchasing experience after the actual purchase. For example, when you buy from Amazon, Amazon helps manage the payment and delivery of your product, right to your door. Similarly, Freightos.com enables shipment management from search and booking through delivery, with payment, tracking, and communications all in one platform.
What is the point of a freight marketplace?
A marketplace with instant quotes gives users dozens of results in seconds, translating into a huge time and effort saver.
That’s because importers and exporters that contact freight forwarders directly usually need to wait two to three days for a freight quote (we actually check this annually across some of the world’s largest global forwarders). Since most importers and exporters have a range of options for destinations, timelines, or modes, they have to assess a range of options. In 2021, Freightos.com users averaged 20 searches before they booked. Multiply each quote comparison from a few vendors by 20 searches and you get a lot of emails, phone calls, and waiting. A freight marketplace saves you all that time and effort.
A freight marketplace also saves money. By comparing prices instantly, you’ll always know if a price is too high. Or too low to be true.
A word on that. Sometimes a price quote is low because it does not include all the services you need – for example, the quote is for port to port instead of door to door, or it doesn’t include charges or additional freight fees you’ll end up paying anyway, like liftgate charges. When you compare quotes on Freightos.com, you choose your search parameters so every quote includes the same services. And every quote breaks down the charges so you can be sure of exactly what you’re getting. Plus, the Standard Operating Procedure that our users and forwarders all agree to codifies exactly what your service providers must offer.
Why should I use Freightos.com instead of a freight forwarder?
We love freight forwarders – we built an entire platform to help them service more importers at scale! But by choosing Freightos.com instead of a single forwarder, you can compare the services of different freight forwarders instantly, so you’ll always have access to the right freight solution and vendor for your business needs, even if those needs change.
For example, you may start using a new supplier in a new location – but your usual freight forwarder might not ship on that lane, or may not offer competitive enough pricing and services. With a marketplace, you can find a provider to meet your evolving needs without the usual hassle involved in switching freight forwarders.
Or maybe, congestion or surging prices push you to find alternate shipping lanes. Or capacity issues mean you need to ship some of your goods by air freight where normally you ship only by sea.
With a marketplace, none of that means extra phone calls or wait times. All you need to do is select the quote that is best for each shipment.
Freightos.com quotes include badges for outstanding service and low cancellations – so you can find the best price and service for every shipment
According to Freightos data, most importers that ship five times or more a year use at least two different freight forwarders. And large multinational supply chain companies regularly use five or more global forwarders. That’s because supply chain needs can vary, and a freight marketplace offers the flexibility, confidence, and visibility to adapt easily to today’s (and tomorrow’s) shipping conditions.
So to bring it all together – why Freightos.com? Because we offer:
- Competitive pricing that leverages individual forwarder expertise
- Flexibility across different modes and lanes
- A neutral platform that helps enforce a high standard of service
- Seamless migration between individual forwarders
- Customer support, documentation management, and shipment visibility
How is Freightos.com different from a freight forwarder?
A freight forwarder is a licensed professional who arranges shipping on your behalf. Much like a travel agent, a forwarder connects you with carriers that move your goods around the world.
While we’ve all become used to booking flights directly with an airline, it’s much harder, and often impossible, to ship without a freight forwarder. That’s because moving freight requires extensive paperwork, legal knowledge, and a deep understanding of the literal heavy lifting of moving goods.
Some of the things freight forwarders do are: help you deal with paperwork, arrange payment, coordinate with carriers, trucking companies, and other providers, and manage any problems that come up while a shipment is in process.
When you book on Freightos.com, you are ultimately booking with a forwarder. We just ensure that you find the best forwarder for you and that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about freight forwarders, check out our complete freight forwarder guide.
I see how I benefit, but what’s in it for the freight forwarder?
For the freight forwarder, using Freightos.com is a marketing and support tool. Just like Amazon connects small sellers with customers easily, Freightos.com connects freight forwarders with importers and exporters. For many forwarders, we represent high double-digit percentages of their business, without needing to invest in customer acquisition. Less spend on marketing means more time to spend helping you.
Using Freightos.com also streamlines a freight forwarder’s work. By managing all their bookings and shipments in one place, they can spend less time answering phone calls and emails and can focus on getting your freight where it needs to go. With our integrations into their management platforms, as well as the high degree of automation we’ve built, each shipment requires less manual support, helping to reduce forwarders’ costs and, as a result, reduce the price that you pay.
We also use a Standard Operating Procedure for our forwarders (and importers and exporters), which means we can provide reliable, standardized support to both buyers and sellers. This is protection to make sure that whichever forwarder you use, you get excellent service. Likewise, our forwarders benefit from the assurance that customers who book with them on Freightos.com have accepted our standards for buyers.
FREIGHT FORWARDERS BENEFIT FROM FREIGHTOS.COM
“When Freightos pitched us the idea of a freight marketplace we jumped on the opportunity. Aside from the thousands of shipments we’ve booked on the marketplace, the Freightos seller KPIs have pushed us to innovate and get better for all of our customers.”
Robert Khachatryan, CEO, Freight Right Global Logistics
How do carriers fit in?
While freight forwarders arrange all the logistics for each shipment, carriers are companies that physically move the goods. Carriers own, organize, and operate the vessels, such as planes, cargo ships, and trucks, that carry shipments.
Freight forwarders usually negotiate bulk rates with different carriers, promising certain annual quantities to receive discounts that they pass on to importers and exporters. In some cases, forwarders also consolidate shipments into one larger shipment, helping reduce the cost they pay the carrier.
For the most part, importers and exporters are not exposed to a lot of the carrier details, although you may know the vessel name and container tracking number for shipment tracking.
Of course, tracking is also available in the Freightos.com shipment management portal.
The Freightos.com shipping management portal
While larger global importers or exporters negotiate and maintain independent relationships with carriers, this is rarer for small businesses since carriers don’t usually have the range of services or coverage smaller importers need. In addition, they tend to lack the customer service orientation that smaller businesses may be looking for.
Does Freightos.com provide customs brokerage?
Booking customs brokerage is integrated as part of the digital experience on Freightos.com with prices quoted upfront in your search.
Learn more about customs here.
Is Freightos.com only for small importers and exporters?
Absolutely not! We work with many small businesses, but also provide services for larger and enterprise companies.
One significant advantage of Freightos.com for larger businesses is the flexibility a marketplace provides: being able to work with multiple forwarders simultaneously can save serious time and costs.
Additionally, our management capabilities allow for easy simultaneous tracking and management of multiple shipments. Plus, all shipping charges can be paid for in one place – and at the same time.
We know that the needs of large importers can vary significantly from those of small importers. For example, large importers typically have existing relationships with forwarders or carriers that need to be integrated into their booking platform. In addition, they also tend to rely more on industry benchmarks such as the Freightos Baltic Index.
You can learn more about Freightos.com’s enterprise offering here.
What is the benefit of a freight marketplace for Amazon merchants?
Many Amazon merchants use a variety of suppliers and source fulfillment to FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). This involves getting goods from multiple origin points to a wide range of global Amazon FBA warehouses. Using a marketplace gives Amazon merchants the flexibility to identify the right freight forwarders on the right lanes. For the many Amazon businesses that ship small quantities, flexibility is extra useful.
In addition, Amazon FBA requirements are fairly stringent. In a worst case scenario, a forwarder who is unfamiliar with the nuances of delivery, palletization, or labeling regulations at Amazon can cause a rejected shipment, or worse. For booking shipments on Freightos.com to FBA warehouses, we offer a dedicated workflow that supports Amazon-specific requirements from forwarders that specialize in the process.
This means your shipment can include all Amazon services like labeling and palletization.
Select fulfillment center as your destination on any Freightos.com search
Doesn’t using a marketplace mean I pay more for freight?
In all likelihood, using a marketplace will help you save on freight costs.
One reason is that we help freight forwarders save money and they can pass on those savings to the importer or exporter. By using Freightos.com, freight forwarders spend less on marketing and customer service since we connect them with importers and exporters and help them manage shipments in process.
The second reason a marketplace leads to savings is that it helps you find the best rates for each shipment. Different freight forwarders have different areas of expertise and when you can access the ones with the best pricing and service on all the lanes you need, you can save on costs while getting better quality.
We have found that about two-thirds of our customers select quotes according to the lowest price. That means that a full third of importers/exporters choose based on other factors, including transit time and provider reputation.
A marketplace is not only about getting the lowest price – it’s about getting the best quality and service. When you can choose the forwarder that’s right for you, that’s what you’ll get.
Learn more about how importers and exporters (over 10k to date) are benefitting from searching, booking, and managing their international freight shipments on Freightos.com.
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