Port Report: DB Schenker Adding Online Freight Quotes

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Germany’s DB Schenker is joining the ranks of logistics companies that aim to bring cargo booking online.

One of the top five freight forwarders in the world, DB Schenker said it will introduce its connect 4.0 platform to North American shippers. 

Connect 4.0 allows customers to make and to book general cargo transportation.

DB Schenker said the new portal goes beyond its current online offering, eSchenker, offering shippers the ability to get a quote for an air or ocean shipment, and book and track the shipment from pickup to delivery.

Originally launched in Europe, the connect 4.0 shipping portal gives customers a “more user-friendly interface for booking and managing shipments.”

Jeff Barrie, the chief executive of DB Schenker North America, said the new portal is aimed at increasing the forwarder’s share of the small to medium size business market. 

Customers in that segment can “now can get a quote, book and track a shipment with full online visibility from pickup to delivery using air and ocean transportation singularly or as a combination of services offered,” Barrie said.

DB Schenker’s move into online booking of freight follows similar initiatives at DHL Group (FSE: DP28) and Kuehne + Nagel (SIX: KNIN), which are also offering online quoting and booking services. On the asset-based side, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd (FSE: HLAG), and CMA CGM offer online quoting and booking. 

Last year, DB Schenker’s revenue grew 3.8 percent to €17 billion with operating profit of €700 million up a similar amount. DB Schenker’s owner, state railroad operator Deutsche Bahn, is leaning on logistics to drive further growth for the group.  

Regarding DB Schenker, Deutsche Bahn said it “expect[s] growth in revenues and operating profit in the 2019 financial year resulting among other things from volume effects and further efficiency increases.” Likewise, North American revenue of €1.9 billion was up 6 percent, and grew faster than other non-European markets. 

DB Schenker is looking to ocean and surface freight segments for the volume growth. In its annual report, the company said it expects ocean freight volumes to reach 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units, a 9 percent increase from a year earlier. Land transportation is expected to show 3 percent growth for the year. 

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