Ocean freight e-commerce platform Inttra Inc. on Wednesday announced two applications for container forecasting and shipment planning, including a Container Forecast and Allocation Solutions Tool (C-FAST) for freight forwarders and ocean consolidators (also known as NVOCCs), and an enhanced version of its Ocean Schedules offering.
C-FAST matches a forecast of customers' anticipated container volumes to carriers' capacity availability, normally a time-consuming manual process of collecting contract data from multiple customers and carriers, according to Inttra. By automating that process, C-FAST can help users achieve up to 40 percent operational improvement and up to $4 million annual cost savings across multiple operating regions, the company says.
The software optimizes contract management and enhances customer planning by integrating customers' forecasts with carriers' availability commitments, Inttra said. Using customer forecasts, carrier commitments, and contracts, C-FAST considers quantity commitment, contract type, and carrier-space contractual obligations by port to optimize decisions. It also provides a dashboard review of planned-to-actual bookings, which helps users plan for future costs and minimum-quantity commitments required from carriers.
Inttra also launched an enhanced version of its Ocean Schedules product, a tool for managing ocean schedule planning. The upgraded Ocean Schedules is now cloud-based and is available with an expanded data set and a new web services application programming interface (API) technology. It includes an enhanced web interface for users of Inttra's ocean-shipping web pOréal, in addition to a new API for customers that want to integrate schedule data into their transportation management system (TMS), rate management system, or other in-house applications. Inttra also offers ocean carriers a new API for direct request/response access to their schedule data, providing end users with current information directly from the carrier's scheduling system.
"The new Ocean Schedules API enables forwarders and cargo owners to easily integrate the latest schedules data from over 35 carriers directly into their transportation management or rates management systems and reduce shipment planning times by up to 80 percent," Jeff Howard, Inttra's senior vice president, product management, and chief product officer, said in a statement.
New features support transshipment details for selected carriers and port pairs to enable more informed route selection; terminal cut-off dates that alert users when containers are expected at the terminal; service names for the service loop in which the vessel sails, which indicate transshipment between services; and a web interface that supports expanded data sets with additional filters, such as schedule comparison and personalized search settings. These enhancements are in addition to its continuing support of transit times, vessel details, and voyage numbers in port-to-port searches, the company says.
Inttra's electronic transaction platform connects over 225,000 shipping professionals with more than 50 carriers and over 130 software alliance partners. More than 800,000 container orders are initiated on the Inttra platform each week, representing over one-quarter of global ocean container trade, the company says.