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Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal Fullscreen View Couriers push the IT envelope

Three decades aſter FedEx and TNT pioneered the used of technology in airfreight, becoming the first companies to develop systems to control their business and track and trace their consignments, express operators are continuing to look for new ways to exploit IT. Global express courier

Crossflight, for example, has introduced a TomTom-based system to automate collection of international express parcels. The M2M solution integrates Crossflight’s booking and despatch soſtware with TomTom Telematics’

fleet platform, Webfleet,

closest or most appropriate driver is allocated each pick-up. Operations


every day - TomTom determines the closest available driver via GPS and notifies the driver’s in-cab system. The driver either accepts the job or declines, giving a reason (for example, delayed at a previous collection point, or held up in traffic. “TomTom gives drivers the

management to ensure the


Kelly, explains: “Before, we used a manual system. We would have to phone each driver to ask them to pick up a parcel every time we got a new booking. Now, when the client books by phone or online - or has a regular pick-up with us, say at 17.00

option to save the job until they finish their current collection, or use satnav immediately to go to the new pick-up address. Once the driver is at the collection premises, an automatic alert is sent back to base. When the driver has loaded the parcel on his van, he tells the system and it is automatically updated. “This lets us see at any time what

jobs have been completed, which are outstanding, and where each driver is.” Being an international express

company, most of Heathrow-based Crossflight’s work is collection, but the system is used for some deliveries of imported parcels, too. A total of 41 drivers collect just over

By Marcia Macleod

1,000 parcels a day, all of which are put on a flight that night or the next morning. European courier and haulier

platform, Transport Exchange Group, has also automated its booking and monitoring system. Member companies can now track jobs even when they are sub- contracted. The customer’s email address is put into the system so that they obtain status alerts; these are either sent automatically or updated by the driver using Transport Exchange Group’s mobile application. Alerts come from the member company, regardless of whether they use a sub-contractor or not, and can be set to only cover exceptions, such as delays or other problems, if desired. A new feature due out later

this year will enable members to book out jobs to another company, whether that company is a member of the exchange or not, and still benefit from the same visibility currently available to work undertaken by their own drivers or regular sub-contractors. Redhead Couriers became

one of the first European express courier delivery companies to combine advanced vehicle tracking with Courier Exchange by integrating its Navman Wireless telematics solution to CE’s soſtware. This has provided Redhead with complete visibility and status of their vehicles throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, allowing them to better promote available capacity, match precise vehicle locations and monitor the progress of loads in transit.

Making sense of US freight rates

Keeping track of different contract rates and filing tariffs with the US Federal Maritime Commission are time-consuming and sometimes onerous tasks. But Seko Logistics has found a way to centralise and simplify rate management, by implementing CargoSphere’s contract and rate management system. “We had a dysfunctional rate

management system, which only covered some exports,” explains Seko’s VP ocean services, Jose Quesada. “When you have 38 contracts, each with different tariffs, and with amendments coming in

daily, it is very hard to keep track of rates. Now we can get all the details of any contract at any time - as well as an automatic alert if a contract is due to expire.” The new system is also linked to

the INTTRA online freight portal, allowing Seko to book space online and know that this will immediately be translated into an accurate, timely tariff. “We give all our contracts and contract updates to CargoSphere, whose staff upload it. CargoSphere staff are all ex- liner employees and understand contracts and terminology, whereas not all our staff do. It

would cost 10 times more to do it ourselves.” The CargoSphere soſtware is also

used for FMC rate filing, something that was previously outsourced. “I became registered as a self-filer on 1 April,” Quesada explains. “This gives me more control over filing and helps ensure we are compliant. “We now can obtain the

correct rate every time, allowing us to provide accurate quotes to customers. Once the quote is accepted, we can click a box and the details are put into the format necessary for FMC filing. As well as speeding up the process, it reduces

Try Cuslink for free

Pentant, the community system provider, is offering port, airport, and shed operators free use of its CusLink Inventory System until April 2015. The system provides simplified

control and management for handling unitised and break-bulk cargoes, thereby improving control and efficiency of freight operations, from receipt of goods to final shipment or delivery. It records when imports arrive in port, airport

or shed, how long they stayed there, when they were cleared, whether duty was applicable and how much was paid on what date, and when the cargo leſt the site. For exports, record is made of

when they arrive at the port, airport or shed, when they are loaded on ship or aircraſt, and when the ship or aircraſt departs. EU legislation requires

inventory systems to be monitored electronically. UK’s HMRC has not

yet made an inventory system compulsory, but it is expected it will be mandatory next year or by 2016. The CusLink Inventory

System is now used in a number of locations, including Dover, Poole, Plymouth and London City Airport. Customers who sign up now for

the CusLink Inventory system will be offered a free trial, including full help desk support, until April 2015.

errors by 90%. The biggest benefit, though, is centralisation, ensuring every office uses the same rate, and the global transparency: any employee can find the information they need for any job and know they will be obtaining the same rate every time.” Seko began installing

CargoSphere’s soſtware on 1 January. It is now used by all 59 US offices, most European branches, including all those in the UK, four in Latin America and China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. The rest of Seko’s offices should be live shortly.


All-electric FIATA bill of lading

Electronic trade firm essDOCS has officially launched its all- electronic version of the FIATA bill of lading (BL) powered by its CargoDocs trade facilitation solution, following several rounds of testing with members of the forwarder’s association. (See IT column FBJ 5 2014) The soſtware company says

its solution is tailor-designed to specifically cater to the demands and needs of the freight forwarding industry, enabling them to completely digitise current paper processes involving FIATA BLs and supporting documentation. FIATA director general Marco Sorgetti, described it as “as close as you can get to plug-and- play in dealing with transport documents.” It works through the

CargoDocs web-based solution enabling electronic FIATA Bills of Lading (eFBLs) to be draſted online, before the FIATA member signs and issues them electronically. All actions are handled by the same parties that would handle paper FIATA BLs. Exporters can supplement the eFBL with supporting eDocs (commercial invoice, packing list and so forth), which are instantly transferred within essDOCS’ secure online exchange to importers or their banks, who treat the eFBL as the legal equivalent to paper BLs under letter of credit transactions. The eFBL is then surrendered to the agent at destination electronically, eliminating any need to courier or hand-carry documents between parties.

Rico appoints head of IT

Rico Logistics, one of Europe’s largest field service logistics organisations with operationgs in 12 European countries plus India, has appointed George Kyriatzis as head of information technology. He will develop IT strategyand solutions designed, implemented and supported by his teams, will improve business and infrastructure systems for both internal and external users. Slough-based Rico Group

was acquired by TVS Logistics Services in 2012 and plans to continue to expand its offering across Europe and world-wide. Kyriatzis commented: “IT

underpins everything Rico does and the use of smart technology

is a growing area which will help our business partners with their daily challenges and difficulties.” He previously worked for Annata UK, an independent soſtware vendor to Microsoſt.

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