A large European non-vessel-owning common carrier will become the first forwarder to offer less--than-containerload booking through the electronic platform created by INTTRA, the electronic portal founded by ocean carriers.
Antwerp-based ECU-Line group signed a pilot agreement with INTTRA to test the new service starting in March with two of its major LCL customers before rolling out the service to global accounts later this year.
The test of the new service will mark INTTRA’s transition from a carrier-owned e-commerce platform started by carriers a decade ago for their own benefit into a portal majority-owned by an investor focused on broader, profit-focused market offerings.
ABS Capital Partners, a capital fund that specializes in helping later-stage growth companies achieve their commercial goals, invested $30 million in INTTRA last month in return for the majority stake.
INTTRA is using the new funds to develop its platform for electronic invoicing and to roll out the new product that will enable shippers to make bookings and transfer instructions with non-vessel-operating common carriers like ECU Line.
“Just as we are getting inbound e-commerce orders for ocean carriers, small shippers will be able to make bookings and shipping instructions online,” said INTTRA CEO Ken Bloom in an interview last month.
“It’s very similar to the product we operate for carriers, so in a sense it’s an old product brought to a new market,” Bloom said.
INTTRA users initiate more than 300,000 container orders per week, representing more than 10 percent of global ocean container trade. Many INTTRA users are ECU- Line customers.
The connection of ECU-Line to INTTRA for LCL documentation will enable freight forwarders to conduct paperless documentation and processing of shipping orders through INTTRA, using the same business process they currently use for their full-container-load business with ocean carriers.
"ECU- Line sought from INTTRA a solution for ECU-Line's global customers with INTTRA-Link connections that enable them to use the same process with LCL as they do for FCL shipments,” said David Burns, Director of Product Management at INTTRA.
“Using the INTTRA network, forwarders can work faster, with less errors caused by paper-based processes that require re-keying of data," Burns said.
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