Logistics startup Freightwalla launches AI-backed cargo tracker for MSMEs amid global container crisis

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Updated: November 17, 2021 12:40 PM

Logistics for MSMEs: Limited visibility into the movement of goods, making shipment tracking cumbersome and time-consuming has pushed managers and cargo owners to consolidate data from different sources through process-intensive tasks, Freightwalla said.

The government in September this year had announced that it will release Rs 56,027 crore in current FY against pending export incentives due to over 45,000 exporters. (Image: Pixabay)

Logistics for MSMEs: Digital freight forwarder Freightwalla has launched a shipment tracking service for MSME exporters and importers based on predictive analytics to help businesses tackle risks associated with shipment delays and improve supply chain efficiency. The new cargo navigation offering backed by machine learning algorithms will be available to all shippers, including local and global exporters and allied parties, the company said in a statement. MSMEs can avail the service to track up to 20 containers per month without any cost.

Currently, shippers go through different challenges such as space constraints, equipment shortage, congestion at origin/destination ports, higher freight rates, and shipment delays, the company said. Moreover, limited visibility into the movement of goods, making shipment tracking cumbersome and time-consuming has pushed managers and cargo owners to consolidate data from different sources through process-intensive tasks. These include phone calls, browsing websites and e-mail communications. Freightwalla said that without real-time insights on cargo movement, handling these challenges is extremely difficult and negatively impacts the entire business.

“Container shortage, which has snowballed into a global challenge through the pandemic, has only worsened in countries where export supersedes imports. India is one such country. This challenge has built up a knock-down impact on the export-import industry leading to skyrocketing freight rates and shipping lines drastically reducing the cargo shipments. With fewer empty containers being picked up, many containers are left stuck at ports for long durations, building up long waiting queues at international ports, especially in the US,” Sanjay Bhatia, Co-founder & CEO, Freightwalla told Financial Express Online.

The freight rates had reportedly jumped over 350-400 per cent in the past year for key locations including the US, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Amid Covid, the volume of shipping vessels in operation was also likely reduced that had led to a lesser number of containers available while a larger set of containers had remained at inland depots and stuck at ports such as in the US and China.

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“The delay in the shipment delivery has almost doubled the payment timelines from a 45-day window to 75-90, causing a two-three-month delay for Indian exporters. While larger players have been adapting to the situation, the challenge has significantly impacted the revenues and operations of the MSME industry,” added Bhatia.

According to the company, the tracking service records multiple data points over the complete shipment journey. The platform through machine learning will predict shipment delays based on satellite tracking, port congestion, and other signals to help combat risks related to shipment schedules based on historical distribution.

“We were able to see the live movement of our cargo via a user-friendly dashboard. Awareness of all shipment status without visiting multiple websites and tracking via a single dashboard helps drive productivity and efficiency across the entire supply chain,” Kishor Suryavanshi, Logistic Manager, Ascent Meditech using Freightwalla’s solutions told Financial Express Online.

The government in September this year had announced that it will release Rs 56,027 crore in the current financial year against pending export incentives due to over 45,000 exporters, around 98 per cent of which were small exporters in the MSME category. The incentives due to exporters belonged to different export promotion schemes such as MEIS, SEIS, RoSL, RoSCTL, other scrip-based schemes relating to earlier policies, and the remission support for RoDTEP and RoSCTL schemes for exports made in the 4th quarter of FY21.

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