Costs represent a key factor in freight forwarding but certainly not the only one. Timely and quick delivery is equally integral to the overall organization of cargo transport. In the field of External Management of Sea Freight Rates, OKARGO stands out with its combination of precise rate management and indicative overview of operational data.
As the head of the Operational Data Team, let me briefly introduce our work and benefits it brings to our customers.
As our clients know well, each combination of carrier and route displayed in the system is accompanied with operational data such as average and best shipping time or departure frequency.
Although such information might seem widely available at first sight, it is not always that easy to gather. The primary source of operation data is carriers’ websites, where especially larger carriers often publish sailing schedules. With smaller carriers, it is, however, not always the case. That is when other sources of information come in handy, especially rate sheets themselves, which sometimes contain the information needed. Should even rate sheets leave us empty-handed, we try making estimations based on operational data of other carriers associated in the same Carrier Alliance or carriers , with which the selected carrier concluded a Vessel Sharing Agreement with. Other sources can also include various on-line portals such as BigSchedules, which, however have not been that reliable and easy to work with according to our experience.
Each route usually offers several options in terms of shipping time depending e.g. on number of transhipments etc. To make rate/carrier comparison easier and more transparent, we set an “average shipping time” based on most frequent of all the shipping times.
Final data accuracy (information directly from the carrier vs. estimations) is subsequently clearly indicated by colour-based signs in the system together with the date of the last update.
All in all, due to lack of reliable sources and insufficient compatibility of data coming from different carriers gathering of Operational Data is still quite an arduous process. In the long term, we would like to start to negotiate setting up live connections with carriers, so that changes of sailing schedules can be implemented in OKARGO in real time. That is, however, still quite a distant future. In the meantime, our team will continue to do their best providing our clients with Operational Data using above mentioned methods.
Operational Data Team