TL Shipping Software – How it Can Benefit the Shipping Process

Among companies that ship a significant amount of goods, there are two theories of how to approach the shipping process: find workable shipping solutions and then turn your attention to other matters, or constantly remain aware of the shipping process to take advantage of better options when they become available. As one might expect, taking the first approach almost always results in paying more for the shipping process, while taking the second generally results in both cost savings and improved delivery time.

Companies that ship a significant volume of products usually ship at least some their goods using truckload (TL) shipping, where a single company ships enough goods to fill a full semi trailer. The opposite of full truckload shipping is less than truckload (LTL) shipping, in which companies that ship partial semi trailer loads combine their shipments to form a full load and then split the price of the load. The basic advantages of TL shipping solutions is that goods arrive at their destination faster and, as a result of their being shipped direct and avoiding warehouse freight handling fees, shipping costs less.

While it’s obvious at what point a company can benefit from TL shipping, achieving the optimal TL shipping arrangements can be more difficult. As with achieving the best of any shipping solution through the use of logistics, TL shippers have three options for realizing the best truckload shipping arrangements: hiring in house logistics experts, outsourcing logistics to a third party logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing TL shipping software-also known as full truckload logistics software-which essentially serves as a logistics expert, presenting companies with a range of TL shipping options that can be examined and selected by accessing a user friendly interface.

For most companies, have their own logistics department is the ideal situation for overseeing the shipping process. But for small and midsize shippers that can’t afford a payroll increase, the options are quickly narrowed to 3PL or TL shipping software. There are four types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers and service developers, which offer individual shipping solutions, and customer developers and customer adapters, which oversee a company’s entire shipping process. To achieve only a TL shipping solution, a company would likely choose one of the former two.

Contracting with standard 3PL providers, or service developers costs significantly less than contracting with customer developers or a customer adapters. But compared to logistics software, which allows companies to cut the middleman out of the logistic function and become their own logistics provider, it still represents an unnecessary expense, not to mention that fact that service based 3PL providers never offer the range of shipping solutions offered by logistics software, as they typically connect customers with carriers that offer a preferred discount that allows them to charge over and above the discount to profit from the arrangement.

Should Liners Invest in Shipping Software Solutions?

Greater efficiency is the top priority of most shipping companies nowadays. With skyrocketing fuel prices and growing market competition, vessel operators are looking for better ways to cut operational expenses while keeping their revenues up. To make this possible, the shipping industry is constantly moving toward greater technological integration to automate various aspects of a shipping process. For this reason, marine software companies have developed various types of shipping software solutions for port and on-ship activities.

Every year, millions of tons of cargoes are being moved by shipping lines on various vessels including RoRo, container, and multipurpose vessels. Moving these goods involves many parties and complex processes. To accommodate the increasing complexities involved in port and vessel operations, hipping software companies have developed maritime software solutions which have greatly increased efficiencies.

For instance, modern merchant vessels use container tracking software to track actual locations of containers and provide their clients real-time view of the actual progress of a container transport process. Automated updates of container and cargo events can be sent to the relevant parties to provide full visibility to them.

Aside from container tracking software, modern shipping lines are also equipped with software applications that help them maximize revenue from each voyage or port call. Voyage calculation software also known as voyage accounting software allows vessel operators to forecast expenses, and revenue they can generate from each shipment and port call. Using this software, operators can make quick calculations of direct cargo related expenses and indirect expenses like fuel expenses, harbor dues, canal fees, and other costs involved in the process. This enables them to manage their cargo mix and simulate the impact contributions of different cargo mixes, port rotations and vessel speeds. Operators can also make simultaneous calculations of costs using different ships and routes and choose transactions they deem to provide the best commercial value.

Cargo safety is always a top priority when transporting containers. To ensure that this is achieved in every trip, operators need to ensure that their container fleet is properly maintained and repaired. With integrated container repair software carriers have full visibility of container damages. Container repair software allows them to quickly authorize and validate repairs, check warranties, identify improper repairs and locations where the equipment is not properly handled. This will ensure that ‘black sheeps’ amongst repair shops.

Integrated shipping software allows shipping companies to increase the efficiency of their operations both on the shore and off. They are available in platforms which can be integrated into a vessel’s existing system without doing any expensive reprogramming. While some marine software solutions can be expensive, operators can easily make back the difference in cost of their investment. However, operators must choose shipping software companies which provide quality shipping software products and after-sales service so that they can benefit most from their investment.

Why Shipping Software Is Crucial in Modern Maritime Industry

Liner vessels carry more than 60 percent of cargoes transported by sea each year. Transporting these cargoes involves a network of ships, trucks, and trains moving through several transfer points known as intermodal connectors. Any problem or disruption anywhere in the network can result in shipment delays and increased costs – issues that hurt many shipping companies even until now. Eliminating such problems is the reason why more and more liner ship operators invest in liner shipping software.

Liner vessels such as Roll-on / Roll-off (RoRo), container ships, and break bulk vessels are capable of moving thousands of truckloads of cargo on a single voyage at full capacity. However, managing cargo transport operations can be complicated and may require hundreds of workers to manually perform routines from packing, to warehousing, inventory, loading, transshipping, and discharging of consignments. Integrated shipping software automates time-consuming and labor-intensive processes involved in tracking and managing cargo transport process resulting in increased efficiency, profitability, and reduced overhead.

Marine software solutions can be purchased off-the-shelf and at affordable price from many software houses in the market. These are easy to install, can be customized to fit different business requirements, and can be easily integrated into existing business platforms. Additionally, modern shipping line software have built-in “switching” feature which ensures that operators and their customer are not forced to use on-size-fits-all system.

One example of maritime software application which can be found is container tracking software. Operators use this software application to provide their clients visibility on the actual progress of the cargo transport process, giving them peace of mind knowing that their shipments are in good hands and are delivered on time. It captures real-time reports on container movements including departure, transshipment, and discharging.

To maximize profitability, shipping companies use voyage calculation software to forecast operational costs and income they will generate from each voyage or port call. Also known as voyage accounting software, this application enables operators to calculate all possible expenses including port costs, cargo costs including voyage and bunker costs. Operators can use this information to identify desirable and undesirable freights, manage their cargo mix, increase or decrease volume when necessary, and choose the most cost-effective deployment and rotation of a vessel to ensure profitability. Additionally, operators can use this application to run multiple calculations simultaneously and compare rates in order to determine options with best commercial value.

Shipping software companies continue to develop solutions in order to provide operators with tools they need to automate critical processes and develop strategies to effectively streamline and simplify their operations, reduce overhead, and improve their services. Operators must evaluate their business carefully and decide on the right type of shipping software solution to use.