If you’re looking for Freight Forwarding Software that promises to tackle your end-to-end operations, the list is endless. But fear not. We’ve put together a list of the best Freight Forwarding software available globally — including companies that focus on empty container repositioning, supply chain analytics, and cargo availability.
Finding new partners… Figuring out cargo availability… Avoiding empty container repositioning — It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking for freight forwarding software.
Many SaaS tools are floating around in the market. Many of them go above and beyond quote generation, tracking, billing, and so on. Not only is this information overloading, but unclear and vague. That can make you, as a user, unsure of what you’re actually getting and is difficult to comprehend.
Fret not! We’ve gathered a list of the best freight forwarding software and firms that you can use to improve your flexibility and profits.
But, first things first. Let’s understand what exactly these SaaS tools, or should we say Freight Forwarding software, are.
What is Freight Forwarding Software?
The technicality behind the software and the way it functions might seem intimidating. So, it’s important to understand SaaS — the technology that is the driving force behind the change.
Software as a Service or SaaS is a software distribution model where an application is developed and hosted on the web. The software is then available for users on the internet, usually on a subscription basis.
To use a SaaS tool, you don’t need to buy new hardware or a license for the software. You just need to subscribe to the software and it’s delivered to you on the internet. Then, it’s maintained in the data center of the hosting company. Maintenance and upgrades of the application are done by the software company. As a user, you only need a web browser to use it. It’s that easy!
What Software Do Freight Forwarders Use?
Freight forwarders and shippers employ a plethora of software to assist with their daily business processes, streamline operations, and minimize procedural costs. Some common types of software include:
Freight Forwarding Software
To manage business operations, documents, notifications, shipments, etc.
Freight Broker Software
To manage invoices, customer’s freight, carrier payments, dispatch drivers, customs, etc.
Freight Accounting Software
To help track business finances, income, expenses, taxes, and related metrics.
Freight Management System Software
To manage supply chain operations, increase efficiency, optimize shipments, etc. It is also called Transportation Management System (TMS).
Freight Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
To handle client interactions, grievances, customer data, records, manage relationships, etc.
Shipping Tracking Software
To track shipments, import, export, find containers, manage freight rates, among others.
Shipping Label Software
Provides templates, invoices, print labels, etc. for the company’s import/export freight.
Multi-Carrier Shipping System Software
Offers a consolidated system for all shipping requirements across intermodal transport.
eCommerce Shipping Software
Specific for eCommerce freight forwarding and helps organize data, cloud integration, etc.
How Freight Forwarders Benefit From The Software?
Automation & Improves Management
The advanced freight forwarding software replaces manual, tedious, and time-consuming business & operational processes and automates everything. This makes it easier to manage requirements like warehousing, transportation, containers, etc. and improves operational efficiency.
By employing artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning, these freight forwarding software can acquire and process huge amounts of data in a short time. This dynamic data can be used to improve analytics and predict important metrics like ETAWhat is estimated time of arrival? Estimated time of arrival, commonly known as ETA, is a frequently used term globally to denote the time of coming. In the shipping & logistics industry, it is ... More, EDA, and weather conditions.
Using this software simplifies and speeds the entire process of management, operations, bookkeeping, billing, orders, tracking, container procurement, and other procedures involved during freight forwarding. Instead of multiple touchpoints (people and places), the entire supply chain system can be accessed and managed on the online platform.
Reduces Human Error
By transforming manual processes into automated systems, these freight forwarding software removes the scope of human error due to data misinterpretation, missing out on information, wrong calculations, etc.
Cost-Effective & Time-Saving
This software reduces the load on the human workforce by automating systems and processes. Thus, they save a significant amount of time and also prove to be an affordable option in the long run. Due to reduced errors, these also help increase profits and save resources.
Different data can be collated and viewed on a single integrated platform. Right from invoicing shippers, to tracking shipments, empty container repositioning, and even managing customers or showing cargo availability — these freight forwarding software can provide an integrated platform for everything, or a specific purpose (like just container trading).
Better Visibility & Access
The gathered data can be easily stored on the cloud and accessed anytime, anywhere. Some freight forwarding software also allows owners to view people who have edited the data on the cloud and thus, increasing accountability and visibility.
Easy To Use & Integrate
And the best thing about these freight forwarding software is that you don’t need to know a programming language or be tech-savvy to operate them. They are as easy as installing a new app on your phone!
And now that you’re convinced why you should switch to using freight forwarding software, here are the companies with Freight Forwarding Software we have chosen to highlight:
Now, let’s dig in!
Founder: Graham Parker, Charles Lee
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Gateshead, United Kingdom
An Enterprise Software company, Kontainers is based in the UK. They serve shipping lines and freight forwarders. It was founded by Graham Parker, who previously built a freight forwarding company from scratch. He realized the need for a digital frontend for forwarders.
Kontainers consists of an array of different features, including:
- Customs clearance
- Creating the bill of lading
- Booking management
- Back-office functionalities
- Trucking arrangement
- Payment management
- FCL and LCLWhat is less than container load? Less than container load (less than container load, LCL) is a shipping term that refers to the delivery of cargo in smaller quantities than a full container load. A f... More booking
The firm creates additional online revenue streams by providing instant quotes and bookings. It is also capable of managing the shipments via its cloud-based plug-and-play solution and can work alongside most of the existing software.
Typically, forwarders rely on Kontainers to digitize their frontend and compete with their digital competitors at low costs. The company offers 3 types of platforms:
- Large players use ‘Enterprise’
- Medium-sized companies use ‘Edge’
- Small companies use ‘Essential’
Kontainers offer a return on investment in 6 months with 50% savings on operations and up to 33% savings on sales efforts. They’ve signed industry giants such as Maersk and Toll Group as customers due to their customizable, digital frontend solution.
Kontainers in the press
Founder: Patrik Berglund, Thomas Sorbo, Vilhelm K. Vardoy
Year founded: 2012
Headquarters: Oslo, Norway
Xeneta is the leading ocean freight benchmarking and market intelligence platform for shippers and freight forwarders. It has made a huge contribution to the digitization of the container industry by collating the crowdsourcing of shipping rates.
Freight forwarders use the company’s service to:
- Find competitive rates with suppliers
- Scale their operations
- Support customer lifecycle management
Xeneta’s platform provides access to countless databases — which are based on 160 million shipping rates to compare prices. Users can even upload their freight rates and compare them directly with the real-time market rates.
It also develops its monthly XSI (Xeneta Shipping Index) from over 160,000 port-to-port pairings with over 110 million data points.
The range of rates available on Xeneta’s database goes from low to high with mid-low rates and mid-high rates. This gives freight forwarders the chance to negotiate better deals with their suppliers. The sales teams reduce the response time to generate a quote and have more confidence in closing a deal.
The rates at Xeneta are constantly updated across 57 corridors covering 95% of global intercontinental values.
Xeneta in the press
Founder: Christian Roeloffs, Johannes Schlingmeier
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany
Container xChange is a neutral online platform with 300+ container users and owners — and more than 1 million containers available for trade. There is a long list of features on the online platform. But essentially, xChange is here to simplify the process of finding SOC containers and create more transparency in the market.
Traditionally, sourcing a SOC was a long-winded process. Shippers would have a great deal of work ahead of them. They have to reach out to companies, set up legal agreements, negotiate terms, deal with container insurance, and use separate tools for tracking & invoicing.
But, with xChange’s online platform, freight forwarders can simply type in their pick-up and drop-off location — to receive a list of verified, potential partners. If you want to try Smart Search for free, click here.
Users of xChange rely on this platform to find SOC containers and identify partners for container repositioning globally. The online platform helps gain market transparency in 2500+ locations. This also helps reduce high costs such as demurrage & detention charges.
When you use xChange, the company takes care of the vetting process. They also help create contracts, track containers, handle payments, and so on. In addition, xChange provides third-party services such as container insurance and surveying.
Container xChange in the press
Founder: John Fay
Year founded: 2000
Headquarters: New Jersey, USA
INTTRA is one of the early entrants in the logistics market for an electronic ocean freight booking — a system that was later developed into a full-fledged software solution for shippers and carriers.
The company was originally founded by the leading ocean carriers to create a standard electronic booking system for the industry. Now, to help shippers improve their performance, INTTRA’s software provides:
- Ocean schedules
- Trading platform
- VGM submission platform
- Data analytic tools, etc.
Once you’ve subscribed to their software, the ‘Ocean Schedule’ feature on INTTRA provides information on transshipment like transit details, vessel details, shipped location of cargo, and so on. The terminal cut-off date informs when the terminal receives cargo for a certain carrier.
Another service is called ‘Name’. This provides the routing information, the ETAWhat is estimated time of arrival? Estimated time of arrival, commonly known as ETA, is a frequently used term globally to denote the time of coming. In the shipping & logistics industry, it is ... More, and ETDWhat is estimated time of departure? Estimated time of departure, or ETD, is the date/time when the vessel or container is expected to start off from the port of origin. ETD is significant as it giv... More.
All the information is available in real-time on the platform.
INTTRA also offers an empty container reusing platform. The users don’t need to bring the container back to the port or depot. Instead, they can just reuse it and bring it to their export customer for loading.
INTTRA in the press
Founder: Alexander Petkov, Anna Shaposhnikova, Asparuh Koev, Rado Nikolov
Year founded: 2013
Headquarters: Sofia, Bulgaria
The software by Transmetrics is majorly for freight forwarders and forecasts customer demand per asset type and geographical area weeks in advance. It offers predictive optimization SaaS based on Artificial Intelligence.
The firm uses technologies like machine learning, data mining, and predictive analytics. This enables forwarding companies to:
- Plan their shipments timely
- Process the right capacities at each location
- Increase their operational efficiency
- Ensure maintaining high service levels
- Minimize procurement costs
Big data and artificial intelligence are buzzwords that everyone knows. But, Transmetrics understands how to implement these technologies — with their unique combination of technical know-how and extensive logistics industry experience.
Transmetrics has worked with the leading cargo companies in the world, including Kuehne + Nagel, DB Schenker, DPDgroup, and NileDutch.
Transmetrics in the press
Founder: Jett McCandless, Wally Ibrahim
Year founded: 2014
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
A web service platform, Project44 provides rate and transit time data in real-time. Its customers include carriers, shippers, third-party logistics, and transportation management system (TMS) providers.
Project44 covers the entire supply chain from truckload, sea freight, rail, parcel, and last-mile delivery. The company takes the raw data from APIs, cleanses it, consolidates it, and presents enriched data to the users.
The company’s strength is its trademark Advanced Visibility Platform (AVP). With predictive business intelligence, Proejct44’s platform can track the shipments by also taking into consideration the weather conditions, road conditions, traffic patterns, etc. Thus, it provides accurate ETAsWhat is estimated time of arrival? Estimated time of arrival, commonly known as ETA, is a frequently used term globally to denote the time of coming. In the shipping & logistics industry, it is ... More. And it also allows you to feed this data into your own systems.
With Project44’s services, freight forwarders know exactly where their shipment is and in what condition — during every step of the journey. This enables users to base their decisions on trustworthy data and predictive business intelligence.
Companies that already use their software include FedEx, J.B. Hunt, ABB, Amazon, and many more.
Project 44 in the press:
Founder: Mathew Joseph Elenjickal
Year founded: 2015
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
FourKites is a predictive supply chain platform that helps in real-time tracking. Matt Elenjickal, the Founder & CEO, designed FourKites in 2014 after recognizing the pain points of the logistics industry — i.e. many organizations still relying on paperwork, phone calls, and emails to manage their booking and quotes.
Thus, he developed software with machine learning (ML) technology to automate the process. This technology helps to share critical load information among the logistics industry. With his software, he aims to disrupt the traditional silo-based organization culture.
Companies that sign up on their platform have to give access to FourKites to their shipment data. FourKites then uses its integrations with GPS/ELD providers. They track the truck, display this information on the FourKites platform, and even provide accurate ETAsWhat is estimated time of arrival? Estimated time of arrival, commonly known as ETA, is a frequently used term globally to denote the time of coming. In the shipping & logistics industry, it is ... More. The data can be shared among the company’s members with a monthly subscription fee.
FourKites’ products include ‘Core Tracking’ which lets you track FCL/LCL, ocean, rail, and parcel. This feature provides ETAWhat is estimated time of arrival? Estimated time of arrival, commonly known as ETA, is a frequently used term globally to denote the time of coming. In the shipping & logistics industry, it is ... More and customized mobile notifications as well. Only authorized users get access to this information.
Another feature is the ‘Carrier Link’. It is developed to enhance the experience of truck drivers. The feature helps create visibility with the use of ELD/GPS connectivity and presents the driver with multiple alternative routing options, rest areas, and convenience stores available on the way.
They also have a temperature tracking feature to help shippers meet cold-chain requirements — by which they can track the temperature of cold-chain goods, fresh produce, and dairy.
Fourkites in the press
Founder: Parvez Mansuri
Year founded: 1999
Headquarters: New Jersey, USA
Advent Intermodal Solutions started as a company that developed custom software solutions in the United States. The firm, Advent eModal, is a merger between the companies Advent Inc. and eModal.
The platform enables over 10 million business transactions every year globally. Their Data Services (EDS) help accelerate cargo transportation and streamline operations by providing critical port data and several automation features.
Advent eModal has a wide variety of features, which include:
- Predicting cargo availability at 45 different terminals
- Facilitating direct fee payments
- Working on order management
- Scheduling terminal appointments
- Creating visibility for containers
Advent eModal provides solutions for port and terminal management, motor carriers, and equipment providers. The software is useful for chassisWhat is a chassis? Chassis, in freight & logistics, refers to a skeleton framework with wheels on it used to move containers. It is also called intermodal chassis or container chassis. Similar to ... More and equipment owners as well. In addition to the above features, they can submit reports, review maintenance, and repair estimates on the platform.
For truckers, these solutions help to get cargo without having to look through countless websites. It can also assist them in other areas such as:
- Automated payments to ports and terminals
- Schedule terminal appointments
- Send arrival notifications which can reduce the truck turnaround time
- Give notifications on the shipment’s whereabouts
Advent eModal in the press:
Founder: Richard White
Year founded: 1994
Headquarters: Chicago, US
WiseTech Global has been developing logistics solutions since 1994. And today, more than 12,000 companies use their solutions. It has a freight forwarding software called CargoWise. Through the software, the company promises to increase productivity, integration, communication, and automation within the supply chain network.
With CargoWise, you can experience a high level of automation reducing the margin of error considerably. It also helps with clearing customs and creating transparency between you and your partner. CargoWise also makes sure that the user’s data is stored both online and offline. Additionally, users can make instant bookings and integrate other modules such as trucking & rail in the transport modes as well.
To help ease the freight forwarding struggles, the software automatically receives and updates shipments and sends them to the shippers. It can also facilitate communication with customs offices, port authorities, depots, agents, shipping lines, and so on.
CargoWise carries out more than 54,000 transactions annually with 12,000 logistics companies across the world.
WiseTech Global in the press:
WiseTech Global : Emirates SkyCargo upgrades customers to a seamless booking experience with CargoWise; Starting September 2021, customers can directly access Emirates SkyCargo’s flights and capacity inventory to make bookings through the CargoWise platform
Supply Chain And Logistics Software Market 2021 Size, Trends, and Key Companies – Unit4, Oracle, WiseTech Global, Verizon Connect, Dassault Systemes – Otterbein 360
Qatar Airways Cargo and WiseTech Global implement direct data connection
Freight Forwarding Software Increases Efficiency
Summing up, these freight forwarding software enhance supply chain management by automating processes and digitizing them. This speeds up the procedures and reduces chances for error. The available data can be used for accurate predictions for shipments, thus saving time, money, and resources for companies.
As all the data is available online (through EDI/EDS) in real-time, it can be accessed easily anytime, anywhere, by anyone. This also provides valuable analytics, adds to timely operations, and improves transparency in the entire supply chain network and freight forwarding process (for shippers, carriers, and customers).
All in all, employing freight forwarding software, like Container xChange, helps replace the manual processes, accelerates operational speed, and increases the efficiency of the entire system.
With Container xChange, you can have both a trading and leasing platform right at your fingertips. xChange’s online platform makes it easier for you to find trustworthy partners, as all members are vetted upon entry.
When buying or selling containers, you can be sure that you get the containers at the right price — as there is full pricing transparency on the platform. You can see the prices of other containers for sale through our platform as well.
When leasing containers on xChange, all you have to do is choose your pick-up & drop-off location and you’ll immediately get an overview of available containers as well as their prices. Not convinced about the leasing rate? You can always negotiate the price directly with the owner.
Want to find containers easily and increase efficiency? Get a free demo to see the xChange platform in action!