How To Lock Freight Rates Fast

In the freight forwarding industry, players typical represent the following roles:

1) they are an extension of a carrier’s sales team, helping to identify potential shippers that can ensure containers on a carrier’s vessel do not go unused.

2) they help to make the process to ship cargo from one location to another location as quick and efficient as possible.

However, as an industry dominated by person-to-person connections where manual transactions drive the shipping process, identifying new leads can be very difficult for a freight forwarder to do. Furthermore, obtaining carrier rates efficiently can be equally as challenging.

Yet out of this historical context, we can see an industry disruption is taking place. Specifically, technology is starting to play a very important role to facilitate the needs of the freight forwarder. Yet it is ironic that nearly all investments to date to integrate technology into the International Shipping Industry has not served to address the specific pain point just identified: namely, to quickly ID new/potential leads and to obtain carrier rates in a manner that is efficient.

In today’s market, the harbingers of technology look to bring shippers into their ecosystem to build a captive audience for the IT platforms they create. At XPort, we believe that for a carrier, a freight forwarder, or a shipper to succeed, then they need to have the freedom to use any tools at their disposal that enable business at the “speed of need.” To do this we offer the following easy to follow steps:

  • Know the "what," "how much," "where from," and "where to" it is that you want to ship. The biggest barrier to obtaining a fast rate is being ready to ship. If your client is ready to go, then that is half the battle. XPort, for example, seeks to optimize stakeholder operational cycles so that you are always ready to book on a moment’s notice. Services of this nature will not only help you increase market share in a highly competitive logistics industry, but it will save time and money.
  • Understand the difference between logistics firm with an emphasis on technology versus a technology firm with an emphasis on logistics. The later will provide a technology platform that may not actually understand the basic needs of a international shipping stakeholder; yeilding rates that are not competitive. Comparatively, the former will help you to find the quality rates you need, when you need them... but the number these types of people in the market is far less than you would expect. The key is to use technology to catalyze the current business cycles that define the relationships between a carrier, a freight forwarder, and a shipper.
  • Look for trusted sources to capture rates, not tariffs. A rate should include not just a carrier’s cost, but will also reflect many other variables such as fuel, seasonal loading, supply and demand trends, port fees, etc. A tariff is a final public provided price that any person will pay for a container. There is no way to know what the real cost of a container is just by looking at tariffs alone.
  • Know what the going rate for a tariff should be before you look to lock in a shipment. At Xport, our free “rate checking tool” ( will give you guaranteed rates for booking ocean freight between over 1.8M cities and ports of call pair combinations. You can use this information to validate rates with: other customer's, carriers, track market trends, etc. While or a freight forwarder can choose to immediately book directly via XPort’s easy to use booking engine interface.

XPort Rate Quoting Tool

For most stakeholders in the international shipping industry, the process to ship a container can be anything but quick, efficient, or simple. At Xport, our aim is to make you better. Whether you use our services or someone else’s, we hope that you make the key step towards finding the best and fastest rates possible. At Xport, we believe that "Innovation Begins with Inspiration.” We hope that our tools and services brings you the inspiration you need to take your business to the next level.


The Xport Guide to Next-Generation International Shipping

Innovation Begins With Inspiration!

The XPort blog brings you next-generation ideas to build a lasting source of competitive advantage for your company.  Dedicated to unraveling the many secrets of the International Shipping Industry, this blog will help readers:

  • export goods with ease
  • optimize core business services
  • build strategies for generating revenue
  • stay synch'ed with industry thought leaders

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josh heisler