Annual Review & Outlook 2014: INTTRA

More than 12 years have passed since INTTRA delivered a shipping portal that made multicarrier electronic shipping available to shippers around the world. Other solutions have also emerged, yet many ocean shippers still choose to ship manually by calling, e-mailing and even faxing carriers.

Does our industry have an unnatural resistance to change? Has our ability to dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of business passed us by? I think not —and actually believe we’re right on target.  

2014 is anticipated to be a transformative year for shippers and the methods in how we can exchange information.

Technology adoption in general is supposed to be slow in the initial 10 to 15 years, and then dramatically increase in the following five years. This was the case when the U.S. adopted use of the Internet, mobile phones, radio, computers and television, according to Technology Review. It took around 12 years for only 10 percent of the population to adopt the Internet and mobile phones. After the initial 10 percent, the numbers increased drastically.

Because 2014 marks the 12th birthday of electronic shipping, if history continues to repeat itself and technology adoption trends stay on pace, these next few years promise to be exciting.

What else makes 2014 a special year for ocean shippers? One word — data.

When shipping transactions are conducted electronically, shipment data becomes more accurate and accessible – and it will be more so in 2014. Once digitized, we can reduce human error and begin to systematically detect and correct the processes and systems that introduce errors.

What should we expect this year? Real-time answers delivered to your system — instantly. This means shippers no longer have to check multiple systems or wait for a person to call them back with an answer.

Consistent service, convenience and reliability demanded by today’s customers can be an accelerator to driving change that is necessary in 2014. My hope is that our industry follows the same technology adoption trend we have seen in other industries and that 2014 becomes the beginning of a rapid transformation in how every shipper around the globe is able to do business.   

Ken Bloom is CEO of INTTRA

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