Information Systems for Freight Forwarders

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Information Systems

“Information Systems of Freight Forwarders”


Nowadays, Information systems are crucial for the core processes of freight forwarders. In this report we will address an issue of the use of a Port Community System. Freight forwarders tend to use their own information systems for communication, instead of a central platform. Freight forwarders use various information systems parallel to each other, since these in general are faster or they do not see the benefits of a system such as Portbase for example.

The purpose of this study is to understand the way in which freight forwarders collect and manage information and how these information systems handle the information flows in its day to day business. Information will be gathered through a literature review, interviews with two freight forwarders (“DHL Global Forwarding” and “Tandem logistics”) and a software supplier (“Fiton”), public data analysis of Portbase and a comparison of several global software providers. This to understand cargo handling, information systems and to understand the data exchange, the linkages and standards between the different systems.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents2
1. Background Literature3
2. Portbase5
2.1 Introduction to Portbase5
2.2 Portbase and Freight forwarders6
3. Information Systems of DHL Global Forwarding and Tandem Global Logistics8 3.1 DHL Global Forwarding8
3.2 Tandem Global Logistics9
4. Information Software Providers11
4.1 Fiton11
4.2 Other Information Software Providers12
4.3 Conclusion on the software providers16
5. Global visibility18
6. Conclusion and Recommendations19
Appendix A: Negative aspects for integrating Portbase23
Appendix B: Scenario descriptions used for Interviews24
Appendix C: Interview transcripts24

1. Background Literature

A port community system (PCS) by many researchers (de Langen 2008, van Baalen et al 2008, Rodon and Ramis-Pujol 2006) is described as an electronic platform connecting multiple systems operated by a variety of organizations making up a seaport community. The purpose of such a system is to bring integration in the seaport community by giving all community members access to pertinent data enhancing overall efficiency and effectiveness throughout the whole supply chain eventually. However, in contrast to many researchers Rodon and Ramis-Pujol (2006) argue a PCS is not designed from scratch, but pre-existing systems will always influence the paths of implementation. Regarding freight forwarders and the integration of PCS within their businesses, very little insight on their issues and priorities with respect to digital cooperation through the use of a PCS is currently known. In order to obtain general insights Fenex and Syntens (2010) analysed 41 different freight forwarders within the logistics sector. From the results it can be inferred the communication with customs and banks are mostly digitized, while most other communication processes with different actors are less digitized. Furthermore, more than 50% of these freight forwarders uses a number of standards in the electronic information interchange (E-mail, internet, EDI, XLS, CRV etcetera). Murphy and Daley, in 1996 already stated the success of businesses in the global market will be affected by the ability of freight forwarders to implement management information systems strategically. Particularly, the increasing role of EDI could be seen as an important tool for the success of a freight forwarder. EDI facilitates the forwarders “quick access to information” and “better customer service”. Another result of the analysis by Fenex and Syntens (2010) is over 80% of participating freight forwarders refer to the increasing level of digital information exchange as being an important aspect and further digitization has benefits if primarily focused upon the wishes of the customers. Backed up...
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