The Red Pill: The (Slow Yet Steady) Revolution in Global Freight Digitization

Eytan Buchman

The March 26th Francis Scott Key Bridge allision feels shocking. Surely all the technology and guardrails should prevent this type of disaster. But, of course, when dealing with systems that operate at such scale, exceptions happen. It’s the gritty reality of logistics.

But rather than focusing on the tragedy, I’d prefer to look at the silver lining. If anything, it’s shocking that these incidents don’t happen more frequently.

I can’t export maritime incident data from the US Coast Guard (which could use some tech) but based on this report there were 18 bridge allisions in the United States between 1960 and 2015. Over that same period, the US imported 37 trillion dollars worth of goods.

Supply chains work on a mind-boggling scale, making it easy to focus on the exceptions instead of the wins. That’s the nature of the beast; for a BCO, one shipment gone wrong will loom far larger than the 999 executed flawlessly. But those successes deserve to be celebrated.

It’s not just supply chains. It’s been twenty years since The Matrix was released. The cinematography blew people away but now, we don’t bat an eye when bullet time slow-motion pops up in a battle scene. We should. It’s awesome.

Here’s another manifestation of how far we have come.

Fifteen years ago, DSV’s homepage had this to say about tech:

 “DSV is committed to providing our customers with the best e-service tools available in order to create visible, transparent and high-quality services.”

Today, tech dominates their homepage, touching on self-service shipment management, tracking, quoting, PO management, warehouse management and more.

Similarly, fifteen years ago K+N’s homepage didn’t even mention tech:

Today, it’s the core focus, offering complete self-service control across freight quoting, instant bookings and shipment tracking from any device.

Standards have evolved. So while we learn from the things that go wrong and continue to improve, it’s nice to zoom out and appreciate how far we actually have come.

For a deeper dive into the latest freight market trends, I strongly recommend Judah Levine’s weekly freight analysis, which you can register for right here

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Eytan Buchman

CMO, Freightos Group

Eytan Buchman loves freight so much he shouts out container sizes while he walks around. He’s obsessed with marketing, data storytelling (it’s a thing!) and bakes really good cookies. He’s the Chief Marketing Officer at the Freightos Group, which runs Freightos, the world’s leading online freight marketplace, and WebCargo, the digital network connecting logistics providers with airlines and ocean liners. When he’s not thinking about pallets, he hosts the Marketers in Capes podcast, and consults to a number of startups and nonprofits. He still likes Minidisc players and has never skied. Ever.

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