Freight forwarders need to embrace digitalisation or get left behind, said Lars Jensen, founder of SeaIntelligence Consulting, at The WACO System’s recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Limassol (Cyprus).
In his keynote speech, Jensen (pictured above) told WACO members: “Digitalisation is something that should be embraced and that you cannot ignore, if you don’t jump on the train, you’ll end up under it.
“From my experience in the industry, digitalisation is not what determines profitability, it is the people that do that.”
The expense and technicality of digitalisation are often highlighted as obstacles by freight forwarders, but smaller businesses are more likely to benefit because digitalisation boosts efficiency in targeted, niche areas that freight forwarders normally specialise in.
“There is a general feeling in the freight forwarding market that the transparency that digitalisation brings will lead to a race to the bottom as companies compete to lower their prices,” explained Jensen.
“But research by Sea Intelligence Consulting in 2018 found that 49% of cargo owners did not go for the cheapest offer at the time of booking, meaning there is plenty of space to develop brand and service strength instead of focussing on pricing.”
WACO’s AGM, which this year attracted 115 delegates from 99 countries, provides networking opportunities for members who can take part in bilateral meetings in order to grow business.
“Every year the WACO AGM is an opportunity for our members to gather, discuss, and share ideas on the most important issues in our industry,” said The WACO System’s executive director, Richard Charles.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to the speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise that will help to make our industry more productive, personable and profitable.”
Jensen has a career spanning 18 years in the shipping industry where he has worked in leadership and analysis roles for Maersk Line, Maersk Logistics, and The Containership Company, as well as two years heading purely online container carrier Youship as Chief Executive Officer.
Since 2011, Jensen has acted as an independent strategic analyst, advisor, and thought leader in the container shipping industry.