Top 5 Ocean Shipping FreighTech Trends in 2021

Vivian Chiang, COO,  BlueX TradeVivian Chiang, COO, BlueX Trade
2020 in many ways, was an unprecedented year that will continue to affect ocean freight and logistics well into the rest of the decade. Still, it also presented a myriad of challenges and opportunities.

As we head into 2021, we at BlueX see business and FreighTech trends leaning into the five following directions, all of which we’re actively involved in.

1. Digital Spot Booking Platforms

Digital transformation is sweeping through ocean freight. Since 2016, Maersk has led the way in reshaping traditional ocean freight bookings. As of October 2020, Maersk customers booked 53% of all short-term bookings on their online spot market, and other ocean carriers are joining this trend, such as Hapag-Lloyd, ZIM, Evergreen Line (with GreenX), Yang Ming Marine, and many more.

Ocean carriers are starting to step up to the plate to ensure that they are digitally ready. This trend will only continue as more carriers continue to adopt solutions like the BlueX White-label E-commerce Solution.

2. Continued Container shortages in early 2021

It remains to be seen how far COVID-19 will continue to affect operations in 2021. The early 2021 market looks to remain volatile. While ocean carriers could see further gains, shippers may face higher rates due to fewer shipments and container shortages as demand outstrips ocean carrier supply.

This variability in demand in 2020 has accelerated the digitalization in freight, boosting ocean carrier profitability while also streamlining shippers’ and freight forwarders’ ocean freight experience for greater efficiency.

As the container shortage ends, ocean carriers will need to rely on their accelerated digitalization to continue to remain competitive and profitable with AI tools and APIs.
3. Shipping APIs and Ocean Carrier Integration

APIs (Application Programming Interface) are the middle-men between applications that weren’t coded or built to communicate with each other. In the past, many players in ocean shipping have relied on EDI integration, which is not real-time.

Modern APIs change all of this. With the BlueX API, shippers and freight forwarders, small and large, can gain direct access to their real-time data from their ocean carriers.

Ocean carriers may not have the ability to offer APIs to all customers, and ocean freight E-commerce platforms like BlueX can facilitate these integrations with multiple ocean carriers on a platform such as Catapult (Powered by Magaya).

4. Ocean Freight AI-Driven Analytics

Artificial intelligence in ocean shipping operations can improve demand forecasting and price optimization. This machine learning FreighTech is essentially software that learns and makes decisions based on multiple data inputs such as forecasted rates, market seasonality, and company-specific factors.

For ocean carriers, AI tools are allowing them to optimize their operations for greater efficiency. With BlueX AI-driven Dynamic Pricing algorithms, ocean carriers can generate greater revenue by maximizing price points to match the price and demand effectively.

5. Effective Information Security

Since 2017, four out of the top 10 ocean carriers have experienced digital security breaches to their systems.

In 2021, state of the art enterprise-class information security will be instrumental in preventing revenue losses by downed systems. Outsourced solutions like BlueX provide an additional layer of security as they are separate from carriers' systems and have been built from the ground-up with the latest in enterprise-class information security.

Build Your Ocean Carrier E-Commerce Platform with BlueX

Many ocean carriers have already initiated their long-term plans for digital transformation, and none of the above trends are new. What is new is the rapid speed of new digital standards being set by the first to market with digital platforms.

With APIs, AI tools, FreighTech, information security, and legacy system integrations, we at BlueX have the components needed to set up your digital solution, all powered through our Freight Commerce Platform.
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