Independent freight arrangement and booking platform AgreeFreight is to launch five weekly sailings from Asia to Arabian Gulf base ports in conjunction with CMA CGM, starting June 5.
The move follows swiftly upon the April agreement for CMA CGM to take freight bookings on its Asia-Europe services through the online portal.
Established in July 2016 AgreeFreight is the first online portal to offer container freight rates live directly linked to a vessel’s sailing.
“We are very excited to extend our services beyond the Asia-Europe trade routes. Our experience tell us that importers in Dubai, KSA, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain have a preference for dealing direct with the shipping line. It is often the case that local banks will shun House bills of lading. We are, therefore, expecting a significant take-up for our services,” says AgreeFreight managing director, Nick Coverdale.
“The majority of importers agree their ocean freight and local trucking directly with the asset owners, often arranging their own customs clearance. Such an arrangement fits perfectly with our platform, which will speed up the traditional process considerably,” he adds.
Mr Coverdale says the rolling-out of the inaugural Asia-Europe service at the beginning of May has subsequently created a lot of interest in the market. AgreeFreight is currently in talks with several liner operators and is confident that at least four of them would be on board before Autumn 2017.
AgreeFreight is also readying itself to take on the Asia-US trade routes with two new platforms, nvo2nvo in late summer and userforwarder in the autumn.
The arrival of AgreeFreight represents a learning curve for many traditional shippers. Mr Coverdale cites one carrier who was critical of the platform because of its unfamiliar simplicity when conducting a transaction.
“Fortunately for us many more companies including shippers and carriers are quickly coming to appreciate the efficiencies involved when you can dispense with phone calls, emails, and excel sheets with hundreds of rates with a few days validity,” says Mr Coverdale.
“Agreeing a freight rate selecting a vessel and making a booking should be a
One-minute task. It is with AgreeFreight,” he concludes.