INTTRA plans to roll out a series of new links on its e-commerce platform over the next few months that will enable customers to buy ancillary ocean shipment services, such as the cargo insurance link unveiled this week.
Through electronic links on the network, shippers and freight forwarders will be able to buy services related to their ocean shipments with a mouse click that transmits the details of the shipments they have already booked on carriers through INTTRA’s e-booking portal.
INTTRA this week added a link that enables shippers to purchase cargo insurance from the marine insurance specialist, FP Marine Risks, a broker that lays that risk off at competitive insurance rates with underwriters at Lloyd’s of London.
“Cargo insurance is the first of a series of member services and capabilities that INTTRA is adding to add to the value that a shipper or a carrier receives by participating in the network,” said Sandra Moran, INTTRA’s vice president of industry and product marketing.
INTTRA picked FP Marine Risks because it specializes in marine insurance products and because it offers global insurance coverage and claims handling. London-based FP Marine already offered customers the ability to purchase various kinds of marine insurance through its Web site and was able to integrate the INTTRA platform into its online insurance systems.
The purchase of cargo insurance is almost completely a manual process currently and can take several days to complete, which means that a small forwarder can lose the business if it can’t include the cost of insurance in its bid. “This was coming up as one of the processes that was causing pain for the shipping community,” Moran said.
INTTRA is negotiating with several other outside companies that will link into the network to provide similar services in the “very near future,” but declined to identify them. “If you think about why anyone would be interested in joining a network or becoming part of something bigger, this is one of the reasons,” she said.
She said that as what she called the “largest shipping network in the world,” INTTRA is able to use customers’ collective buying power to negotiate freight rates or insurance premiums at levels that are based on its total volume of shipments and thus more competitive than the volume of an individual shipper. This gives smaller freight forwarders access to rates comparable to those offered by the largest logistics providers, she said.
Although massive overcapacity in the global insurance market has already led to a multiyear decline in insurance premiums, “the INTTRA network itself does such significant volume that FP Marine can offer a reduction in premiums below what they can offer somebody that just comes to them,” Moran said.
While she declined to identify the new cargo service links that INTTRA plans to roll out in the coming months, she said they are services customers have been requesting. “We look at our customers’ complete business process and where we find particular pain points that we felt are in keeping with INTTRA offerings, those are opportunities that we’re pursuing on behalf of the shipping community,” she said.