How to take advantage of cargo bags

Freight exchanges are services that put transport companies and logistics operators in contact with each other in order to facilitate their shipments of full loads and groupage. They are a digital meeting point in which, on the one hand, the transport needs of these companies are published and, on the other hand, the companies offer the vehicles they have available and that can carry out said loads.

In this way, the cargo carriers act as a logistical “matchmaker” between supply and demand. The majority of users of this type of platform are the transport companies -although in some projects the shipper is being put directly in contact with the logistics companies-. But despite this predominant presence of carriers, the benefits offered by cargo bags also reach the customers of the transport companies.

History of cargo bags

The cargo bags already have more than three decades of life. The first of them, Teleroute, was born in France in 1985 and pioneered a business model that has prospered over time. Currently you can find dozens of different cargo bags both inside and outside the old continent.

During the years of the crisis that began in 2007, in which the volume of goods transported suffered, along with the decline in the economy, cargo bags experienced greater use of groupage due to the reduction in size of orders and, therefore, in the contracting of full loads.

However, today cargo bags are experiencing a sweet moment again. Wtranstet, one of the main stock exchanges, increased the number of loads offered in Spain by 40% in 2017, while the number of imports from Europe grew by 27%.

Benefits of cargo bags

When it comes to talking about the advantages offered by cargo bags, we are going to focus on those benefits that go directly to the end customers of the transport companies.

Reduce empty kilometers

Perhaps the biggest enemies of transport efficiency are empty kilometers. That is, those kilometers that a truck travels with little or no load. This problem affects full loads and groupage due to the difficulty of finding these merchandise returns -the customer may ask to take merchandise to a destination but have nothing to bring back- and due to the large number of kilometers travelled.

The freight exchanges were born to a large extent to alleviate this problem. Thus, companies have to worry less about returning empty, as they can offer that free space in their vehicle to a large number of logistics operators (that is, to the clients of these logistics operators).

In this way, the benefit for customers is double. On the one hand, they have more trucks available for their merchandise and, at the same time, if your supplier has the return covered and is not going to return empty, they will be able to give you a better service and at a better cost. Without this facility for the return, the logistics operator should either assume the risk of a possible empty return or cover their backs with a price that the customer might not be able to assume or would not make the shipment profitable.

Reduce downtime

Empty miles are not the only way to lose money due to lack of optimization. If we have the truck stopped at the destination while we look for or wait for a load to make that return, we will also be increasing our costs. Therefore, the search for that cargo must not only be achieved, but it must also be done in a reasonable time.

Once again, the improvement of the efficiency in the processes of the carrier will have a direct translation in benefit of the client. Logistics operators continuously measure their processes to find out how much it costs them to carry out certain actions or routes, and that is where they start from when it comes to offering and budgeting for their services to their customers.

Create long-term relationships

Although freight exchanges are prone to the occasional use of suppliers for specific cases, relationships are also produced in them that end up consolidating and becoming regular over time. It is a common case: hire a transport company for a certain route and, when this route is repeated, contact that company again to see its possible availability.

This process ends up assuming a new quality filter for the end customer. Although perhaps the new need for transport never reaches the freight exchange -if both companies manage it externally-, it is through it that this relationship was born. In addition, since this route can be repeated over time, it is also possible to fine-tune the procedure, the details and the forecast, so that costs and service can be improved.

environmental improvement

Cargo bags were surely not born thinking about improving the environment. However, its very nature is an aid to care for our environment. Suppose that a company needs to take a cargo trailer from Madrid to Barcelona and that another company needs to do the same from Barcelona to Madrid, each one with its logistics operator. If carriers are unable to fill their return journeys (either through their own journeys and routes or through their contacts) they will have to fill them empty. While with cargo bags it will be easier to find each other -or other carriers in the same situation-.

In this example, cargo bags could halve the number of trailer miles required to distribute the same amount of merchandise. And every kilometer saved on the road means less pollution, less traffic jams and less wear and tear on the roads.

Safety and quality

Freight forwarding outsourcing was not born with freight exchanges. However, its evolution has helped to work to reduce two problems that can occur in these situations: security regarding the merchandise -on its integrity, shrinkage, resolution of incidents, etc-. and the collection of transport carried out. The freight exchanges develop mechanisms to try that the companies that have a presence in them are of the maximum reliability. In this way, carriers and shippers can be safer when working with a carefully controlled group of suppliers. In the case of Wtrasnet, through its QAP system, filtering is carried out in which only 3 out of 10 applications from companies that want to be part of the freight exchange end up being accepted.

As we have seen, the use of cargo bags by transport companies and logistics operators has a direct impact when it comes to offering their customers a better service and/or better costs.

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Khaterine William

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