Freight rate management for container hinterland transports

Freight rate management for container hinterland transports

Freight tendering is one time-consuming aspect of forwarding, and workflows that take time also cost you more money. Before you have a signed agreement from your customer, you need to invest considerable time into providing an accurate and competitive tender. 

In this process, you need to answer several time-consuming and arduous questions. What carriers or operators are available for the desired route? What conditions do I need to take into account? How can I best compare offers in the market, as well as my already negotiated rates with many operators and carriers? 

Freight rate management is therefore one of the most vital aspects of any freight forwarding business. New technologies have therefore been developed to address these concerns, but with many options available and not all suited to hinterland transports, it can be tricky to know where to start.

If you are still handling price lists manually, continue reading to discover what it is costing you. Or, if you work with some type of tool today, understand if it is actually serving you in the best way. 

The status quo of rate management for hinterland transports

Today, many freight forwarders are still working in the dark, as they only operate with cumbersome manual rate management. It means you have to enter price list data manually into a sheet or system. Then, manually search and cross-check rates across many spreadsheets, PDF-files and other documents in order to build a tender.  

To this end, they face several challenges—efficiency constraints being the biggest. Other notable challenges manual rate management brings about are:

  • Lack of transparency
  • Leveraging data to your business benefit
  • Inaccuracies in quotes and invoices 

Some may use a tool not designed for container hinterland transports specifically. This could mean it might not be able to display information or data points you need such as seaports, container size prices, or intermodal transport combinations. Using the wrong solution for your needs creates more work for your team as they have to find ways to work around the limitations of the tool.

What is manual rate management costing you?

Using a manual or non-dedicated tool for rate management slows you down. Freight forwarding is a time and speed-driven sector and being able to provide fast and accurate competitive quotes to customers is how you win business. 

Manual processes, like uploading, updating and cross-checking price lists, are more time-consuming, labor-intensive and include higher risk of errors. All of which cause higher operational costs. Reduce the handling times and you will reduce your operational costs.

When information is not readily available to everyone in your organization, it sets a particular challenge around visibility and transparency. Attempting to share the correct spreadsheets or forward long email threads to concerned parties is not only a laborious process, but easily leads to misunderstandings and inaccuracies.

Errors and miscalculations greatly influence how customers perceive you and business. To err is human, and we know how complex rate management for hinterland transports can be. However, the truth is that regular mistakes come across as unprofessional. 

What is digital freight rate management for hinterland transports? 

Today, you can purchase specialty digital rate management systems. These will allow you to upload all your price lists to a platform, search for routes and immediately gain a full overview of all carrier rates. 

Depending on the software you get, you will be able to search by zip code for routes and sort results by price, seaport, carrier, terminal, container size, and mode of transport. Further, view price breakdowns of the base price and standard surcharges for your route and mode of transport. 

A digital system provides significant benefits for you as it automates the process of searching and comparing rates for specific routes. It saves time for team members as they do not have to ineffectively search through different spreadsheets when they are trying to find the best rates matching the customer requirements.   

There are also more advanced software solutions available which allow you to view historic data, analyze and report rate data, visualize data with charts and graphs, and automate RFQ creation. More functionalities do typically come with a higher price point, so we recommend establishing which ones you and your business actually require before making your choice. Some may be nice to have, but not necessary for your business use case.

Benefits of a digital rate management system for container hinterland transports

A rate management solution is necessary for freight forwarders to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Capitalizing on a smart digitized solution specifically built for container hinterland transports allows for the following the main benefits: 

  • Speed and reliability improvements 
  • Centralized database of rates and surcharges
  • Easy access to information for the entire team
  • Transparency

A dedicated solution that accounts for hinterland transport specific needs, such as seaport, container size and intermodal options, will help you to respond to RFQs faster. What is more, you can feel confident that any quotes you deliver are valid and without errors.

Even without an advanced automated quote generation function, the entire process to prepare and deliver quotes will be quick and easy. This is not only helpful for your team, but ultimately improves efficiency and productivity. 

Digitization is already seen as central by teams in the German logistics sector as outlined by Hermes Barometer 2023 and a rate management system is one important step on this journey. 

Smart rate management with rouvia eQuote

For this reason, rouvia has developed our easy to use rouvia eQuote app for container hinterland transports. Upload all your rate sheets and get one single consolidated view of your negotiated rates and tariffs. 

Our rate management solution is made for container hinterland transports, making it easy to search and compare buy rates. Filter your search for seaport or modes of transport and sort results by price, container size, operator, etc. Then, simply export price offers via CSV or PDF for effortless and quick sharing with customers. 

Invite your entire team as users to the app, and ensure everyone has access to the same up-to-date rates. You will save your team a lot of time and let them focus on more value-added tasks.

Get in touch with us to discuss your organization’s needs for a rate management solution. 

Lovisa Andersson
Logistics writer
July 26, 2023

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