In: Supply Chain & Logistics

Freightos, a rapidly growing online marketplace for freight transportation, announced Monday that it has acquired Oregon-based rate management company 7L Freight to further enhance the instant airfreight pricing and booking capabilities of its WebCargo unit.

WebCargo is a multicarrier platform that connects airlines to freight forwarders, giving them automated pricing, quotes and reservations, much like travelers who book passenger tickets through sites like Kayak.com. The Freightos platform separately connects forwarders to shippers with goods to move.

Dynamic pricing and booking are made possible by automated programing interface technology. Automated connections give both sides much predictability, accuracy and convenience. Other vendor-neutral airfreight markets include cargo.one and Unisys Corp.’s Cargo Portal.

The acquisition comes as the air cargo industry significantly increased digital adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Air cargo companies are making the shift for several reasons, including fluctuations in staffing levels that have made it more difficult to manually confirm transactions by phone and email, passenger airlines moving more cargo with dedicated aircraft and needing to update prices more frequently, and a tight supply of aircraft and escalating rates that created an incentive for forwarders to book space faster and carriers to more efficiently allocate capacity. 

Airfreight demand in 2021 increased about 9% from pre-crisis levels in 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association. 

More than 30 air carriers are sharing their reservation systems with WebCargo, up from three in 2019. WebCargo experienced a 1,000% year-on-year growth in electronic bookings last year and more than 35% of global air cargo capacity is available via WebCargo, according to Freightos. Available cargo capacity represented by carriers on WebCargo increased nearly 200% since the start of 2020. With the addition of 7L Freight, more than 3,000 freight forwarders now use the system.

Silk Way West Airlines, an Azerbaijan-based all-cargo carrier with 13 freighters, in December became the latest airline to join the WebCargo platform.

In November, WebCargo released a mobile application allowing forwarders to search, compare and book air cargo from anywhere, especially in areas where Internet connections are unreliable.

Forwarders using 7L Freight will continue to have access to the same rate features and support, combined with instant pricing and booking capabilities in the WebCargo platform.

“We’ve competed with WebCargo over the years, and I believe that by joining our data sets and capabilities, we’ll be able to provide an industry-leading, comprehensive global solution to our customers,” 7L Freight CEO Brennan O’Dowd said in the announcement.

Freightos was founded by serial entrepreneur Zvi Schreiber and has raised more than $100 million from leading venture funds such as GE Ventures and the Singapore Exchange. 

Click here for more ABM Desk/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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