Canadian Shipper


Widespread interest in direct ocean carrier feed of confidential rates

Chapel Hill, NC — New research highlights the need for a more efficient digital framework for container shipping rate management and distribution.

CargoSphere, published the results of its original research that was developed to determine what value the global NVO and forwarding (FF) community puts on receiving a direct, Web-based feed of their negotiated rates from their ocean carriers.

In 2016, CargoSphere commissioned Drewry to define the cost burden to the global freight forwarding community to find or receive and process/analyze ocean freight buy rates. It was determined the annual labor cost is a whopping $500 million.

CargoSphere says its survey investigates the various reasons and benefits for automating rate management and distribution and streamlining this process with a direct ocean carrier feed.


The survey was sent out in late June 2017 to logistics providers in the ocean-container shipping industry. Key highlights on the respondents:

  • Came from 13 countries and represented over 6.5 million annual TEU of container volume
  • Worked in businesses that focus on all major shipping areas of the world (Asia – 78%; North America – 75%; Europe – 70%; South America – 48%; Oceania – 34%; Africa – 33%)
  • Were primarily freight forwarders (77%) and/or NVOs (59%)
  • Were of all sizes (Small – 11%; Medium – 48%; Large – 41%)
  • Were from all corporate roles (Executive – 36%; Manager – 47%; Staff – 17%)


The most important conclusion of the survey is that there is near-universal interest from the respondents in the electronic receipt of confidential negotiated ocean carrier rates. The survey provides great confidence in this conclusion because of user responses to 2 different questions:

  • A response of “Yes” from 92% of the respondents when asked “Would a direct data feed from your carriers with your confidential ocean pricing be a competitive service advantage?”
  • When asked to rank the value to their company of streamlining the ocean pricing process (on a scale of 1 to 10 with “1” being “Little Value,” “5” being “Moderate Value” and “10” being “Invaluable”), 25% of respondents selected “10” (invaluable) and 92% selected “5” (moderate) or higher.
  • Carriers can be confident that forwarders will be eager recipients of this data when they are able to improve their distribution technologies.


The benefits that a majority of the responding forwarders expect from this new technology include:


  • Time savings for sales and operations staff (91% of respondents)
  • Increased data accuracy of buy rates (70% of respondents)
  • Global offices having access to accurate timely rates (67% of respondents)
  • Faster reconciliation of carrier invoices (52% of respondents)


  • Faster quoting to customers (89% of respondents)
  • Increase in customer satisfaction (67% of respondents)
  • More frequent selection of optimal booking carrier (66% of respondents)
  • Ability to share rates in real-time with agent partners (66% of respondents)

Access survey results here.


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