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ITS Logistics

Cautious shippers navigate post-pandemic landscape of visibility data tools

Shipping containers and the world map in the background.

April 19, 2024
Eric Johnson

Cost and accuracy

Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal at nationwide provider ITS Logistics, said two complaints shippers generally have about visibility data are a lack of accuracy and cost. ITS in late 2023 released a visibility product called ContainerAI that it bundles with freight services or offers as a standalone product to shippers.

“On the one side you have large, sophisticated shippers with resources allocated for this,” Brashier said. “They want data, and accurate data they can hold people accountable for. And they want it for the least cost possible.”

On the other side are smaller shippers using 3PLs as a service provider and data platform.

“It’s not just about [container] volume, but ones that don’t have the proficiency in place because they’re used to ‘booking door,’” Brashier said, referring to when the carrier or 3PL manages the drayage move on behalf of the shipper. “You have a movement underway where they want to control that freight and want to hold folks accountable, so they don’t end up in the same place [they were during pandemic-induced congestion].”

Brashier said ContainerAI is an attempt to address those issues because it relies on data that’s used operationally by ITS.

“The standalone providers are not testing the data in the same way [as a 3PL] because they’re not operators,” he said. “If you don’t have operational experience, it’s going to be hard for you to say the data is right 98% of the time. We’re on the hook if 40 containers go into demurrage, so our data has to be on point. And so what we provide to the client has to have that level of redundancy and accuracy.”

On the cost issue, by embedding visibility into its freight services, ITS can provide a competitive price on visibility milestones.

“If I’m providing milestone data along with freight, I can give them milestones I already have to feed into their [business intelligence] tool for no extra charge,” Brashier said.

Read the full article here.

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