How Shipping Digitalization Can Help Your Business

With advancements in digital technology, shipping digitalization and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly relevant in the shipping industry. 

Why is that so?

When shipping companies embrace shipping digitalization, they fast-track existing processes, breathe new life into supply chains, and enjoy many other benefits

But this comes with some challenges.

Let’s explore everything you should consider before incorporating new technologies

Why Is Shipping Digitalization Important?

Digital freight forwarding enables faster processing speed and more autonomy for freight forwarders. These benefits are attractive to shipping companies and customers, giving the industry businesses a big boost. 

Shipping digitalization can also help the industry take a step towards its zero carbon footprint goals through enhanced operational efficiency. 

And that’s not all!

By introducing digital technology solutions, the sector can enjoy better quality control, data-backed planning strategies, and swift decision-making. 

So, overall, it enables sustainable operations, better competitive advantages, and an improved customer experience. 

Let’s look at how you can get started. 

3 Steps to Kick-Start Digitalization

Here are three steps you can take to embrace digital transformation. 

Step 1: Identify the Scope for Improvements

Start with doing data collection on the market — the strategy of other providers (your competitors) and the efficiency and competence of your company. Look at ship deployment processes, cost breakdowns, and your current container shipping lines. 

Then use information systems to compile all the data, make realistic comparisons, and identify the most effective changes. From there, develop a detailed yet realistic implementation plan. 

Step 2: Choose a Solution 

Find new technologies that align with your business model to help fast-track processes that need change. New technologies like software can help streamline operations, analyze big data for smart shipping decision-making, and identify further scope for improvement. 

Step 3: Implement the Digital Tool

Finally, fully embrace shipping digitalization by implementing your chosen plan. However, do watch out for potential issues. 

For example, when the software isn’t integrating well with your air or maritime shipping system or when your staff isn’t properly trained to use the software. You can then take the necessary steps to address these issues. 

You could also monitor your progress to identify where things are improving. You can then use that information to plan and implement a long-term strategy. 

Now that you know where to start, let’s look at the advantages of doing so.

6 Rewarding Benefits of Shipping Digitalization

Here’s what you can look forward to with digitizing your shipping business:

1. Operational Efficiency and Profitability

Using digital platforms to improve your supply chain visibility can increase your profits. 

In fact, a World Bank report mentions that digital technology can help improve shipping efficiency and processes for the logistics industry. 

For example, the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) ensures businesses can securely share documents electronically, helping establish uniformity across the maritime logistics industry. 

It tries to ensure everyone enjoys the same benefits, like:

  • Reduced human error in paperwork
  • Reducing the potential for costly delays
  • Optimizing the flow of information and connecting all logistic parties (stakeholders) involved.

In fact, most businesses avoid paper air waybills (AWBs) since eAWBs make generation and submission effortless. 

Want in on the action? Then check out Shipthis’ fantastic eAWB submission feature!

2. Real-time Response and Information

No one likes to be left on read. 

We all want fast responses! 

And that’s what you’ll get by adopting shipping digitalization — enhanced supply chain visibility and easier customer interaction.

Real-time updates and accurate timelines can ensure you’re always on top of things. This data can help everyone in your shipping business, from ship operators to container managers, stay afloat. 

What do we mean?

Access to the latest data about the industry and each vessel will ensure you’re always aware of regulation changes and can prepare for any possible delays. 

You can also provide accurate and quick responses to your clients (boosting customer experience) if they have any queries regarding vessel location, cargo condition, etc.

Freight forwarders can enjoy complete transparency and accurate real-time information with Shipthis’ Track and Trace feature

3. Improved Adaptability

The digital age brings along vast amounts of information that, if applied correctly, can enhance functionality. 

For example, let’s take maritime shipping as an example.

Quick responses to sudden changes in the maritime supply chain will give digital maritime companies a boost. They can efficiently react to challenges in a way that prevents significant losses for the company and reduces the effect on the world economy. 

How do maritime shipping companies do this? 

By implementing ocean freight software

The software’s predictive analysis can help enhance functionality. Freight forwarders, ship operators, and container managers can discover the best options to navigate natural disasters and geopolitical tensions. 

4. Cost Optimization

Businesses can use digital solutions, like freight accounting software, to predict market and industry trends.  

By optimizing aspects like crew spending, maintenance, and the procurement process, businesses can make smart financial choices. Without digital solutions, you might miss out on volume discounts and delivery-pool savings when purchasing from suppliers. This increases your unplanned spending. 

Here’s how digitalization can help your shipping business:

  • Procurement: Software solutions can offer operation transparency and real-time insights into your procurement process. It can help make bulk purchases based on your needs, reduce unnecessary expenses, and provide valuable strategies to streamline cargo transport.  
  • Crewing: Certain digital shipping tools can help you find qualified workers and improve communication between the stakeholders. For example, with maritime shipping, you can coordinate with the ship owner, port authority, and customers. It also outlines safety protocols for ship operations. You’ll also have access to essential information, like who’s on board, medical claims, travel schedules, and training opportunities.  

5. Greater Sustainability

Regulators, like the International Maritime Organization (IMO), are concerned about the impact of the maritime sector on ecosystems. 

As such, there are several sustainability initiatives and regulations to ensure companies are going green by embracing smart shipping. Some of these regulations include pollution tax and mandatory reporting of carbon footprint and emissions for businesses.

But here’s the thing:

Businesses can stay compliant with digital freight management platforms. Such software solutions allow for route optimization of maritime transport that conserves fuel and ensures quick resolutions to leaks or spills. 

Here’s how the logistics industry is minimizing its environmental impact with Electronic Airway Bills

6. Enhanced Safety

The most critical operation when shipping is navigation. 

Any mishap or oversight while manually working the system could be catastrophic.

Maritime technologies can streamline and automate dangerous or difficult operations. Thus reducing the opportunity for incidents at sea or in port.  

How so? 

Advanced tools that use artificial intelligence, deep learning algorithms, and big data analytics can ensure safe maritime transport navigation. 

These tools can provide accurate weather and natural disaster predictions so you can make the safest container shipping lines decision. Plus, advancements could eventually lead to autonomous ships.

But wait, there are other things to consider. 

3 Challenges of Shipping Digitalization

Below are aspects to know before implementing shipping digitalization:

1. Misguided Perceptions

Some stakeholders think testing the implementation of digital technologies is a waste of time and money. They consider it a risk since the shipping industry has low-profit margins, and they need to find ways to cut operational costs. 

But here’s the thing: 

This fear of shipping software is misguided.

Investments in shipping software are only risky when you try to implement several tools simultaneously. So, it’s best to identify which tools would make the most impact and start integrating them into your business slowly. 

When done right, businesses can reap immeasurable benefits through digital technologies. 

Ready to join the digital revolution?
Become a leader in the freight industry with
Shipthis’ comprehensive freight forwarding solution.

2. Data Sharing Limitations

Businesses seem to prioritize data protection over data sharing. This creates a barrier within the community as some maritime companies embrace open data sharing, and others don’t. 

What’s more?

Some technologies rely on data sharing to predict future events and help businesses make realistic plans to deal with disruptions. These digital platforms can ensure accurate monitoring of operations and ensure better safety.

Opting to share data benefits the entire sector, and it can encourage a quicker transition to a digital-oriented industry. 

3. Risk of Cyber Attacks

Attacks on digital infrastructure could devastate a business. This is why some ship managers aren’t willing to forgo legacy business processes that are safe from cyber attacks. 

Yes, cyber attacks are troublesome

They can directly affect operations, reducing profitability. 

But what scares companies is that they’ll need to spend more money to upgrade and rebuild their infrastructure after profitability has already decreased.

No thanks, right? 

However, software companies regularly update and improve their digital systems to reduce the risk of cyber attacks. 

As a freight forwarder or ship owner, you could also implement preventive plans to deal with these threats, like having data backups and running regular vulnerability scans.

Fast-track Your Digital Transformation with Shipthis

The demand for better, faster, and improved e-commerce operations has reached the shipping industry. It’s up to all stakeholders in the supply chain to join the digital revolution and become the best version of themselves. 

Plus, Shipthis can help freight forwarders go digital effortlessly! 

Schedule a demo of Shipthis’ comprehensive freight forwarding software to take the first steps of your digitalization journey today. 

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