Catapult-Xeneta pact out the gate with forwarder win

Catapult-Xeneta pact out the gate with forwarder win

Catapult provides software to forwarders that helps them manage their ocean freight contracts and quote more quickly and accurately to shippers. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Freight rate management software provider Catapult said Thursday a recently formed collaboration with rate benchmarking software provider Xeneta is already paying dividends.

Catapult said it has landed Philadelphia-based global freight forwarder BDP International as a customer, with the Xeneta link-up cited as a key consideration in BDP choosing to work with Catapult. The deal will see BDP implement the Catapult system across six global regions.

It’s also notable because “BDP was actually our first, full scale client, so it is great to welcome them back to Catapult,” Catapult CEO Virgil Ferreira said in a statement.

At its core, freight rate management tools enable logistics services providers (LSPs) to digitize buying and quoting processes. Putting contracts into an online environment and updating rates and surcharges electronically enables those LSPs to quote rates to shippers while being mindful of their margins. The partnership with Xeneta allows LSPs to benchmark their rates against aggregated contract rates, crowdsourced by the Oslo-based software company.

“Catapult has both the knowledge and the technology, as well as a very progressive approach to digital collaboration with partners like Xeneta, co-loaders and carriers,” Carmen Gerace, BDP International’s executive vice president, said in the statement. “BDP is committed to investing in technology that adds more value to our customers, giving them access to better data, and customizable digital solutions that can integrate with their ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems.”

Pipeline of joint customers

When they made the collaboration announcement in mid-June, Catapult and Xeneta said there were approximately 10 joint customers implementing or eyeing the integration, which is due to go live in late July or early August. Xeneta’s benchmarking data is directly integrated into Catapult’s rate management tools, which allow forwarders and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs) to quote faster and more accurately to shippers than they are able to using spreadsheet-based means of rate aggregation and dissemination.

To access the integration, forwarders and NVOs must be customers of both systems. If they are, they can compare Xeneta rate data directly against their own contract rates for a given port pair, which Catapult helps them manage.

Rate management software, such as that provided by Catapult, CargoSphere (acquired in 2017 by freight forwarding software provider WiseTech Global), Info-X, Portrix, fLex, and Freightos, has become a critical foundation for forwarders and NVOs over the last decade. The systems generally rely on partnerships with other software providers to extend the value of being able to manage contract rates more effectively.

For instance, most rate management software providers have long had integration with INTTRA to allow forwarders to book and submit shipping instructions on behalf of beneficial cargo owner (BCO) customers.

BDP International was the 37th largest global third-party logistics (3PL) provider by revenue, according to research by consulting firm SJ Consulting Group on behalf of the Journal of Commerce.

Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.