Applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Freight Forwarding Industry

Reinforce Freight Forwarding by Introducing Automation
Amit Maheshwari, Softlink Global CEO

As the world is overcoming the pandemic-induced disruptions and seeing increased trade flow, the freight and logistics industry is facing challenges like never before. So to meet the evolved customer expectations and the pressure of implementing advanced technologies they need to focus on strengthening their supply chain and logistics capacity. At this point, leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) successfully can help to maximize efficiency in freight and logistics operations.

According to research by McKinsey, the successful implementation of AI has helped businesses improve logistics costs by 15%, Inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65%. In another study by the same group, it is said that logistics companies will generate $1.3-$2 trillion per year for the next 20 years in economic value by adopting AI into their processes.

The prevailing challenges of traditional forwarders like human errors in operations, revenue leakages, shortage in cash flow, lack of shipment visibility, demand and supply mismatch, and reduced profit margins can be controlled by implementing a cloud-based freight forwarding solution. Over the past few years, the emergence of digitalization has transformed the operational landscape of the global freight and transportation industry scenario and AI has been a game-changer.

Moreover, artificial intelligence-powered freight solutions backed by other latest technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics can help the freight industry to utilize data to its full potential.

The benefits of AI-powered logistics and freight systems are numerous and this powerful technology offers to automate and simplify warehouse operations, vehicle automation, predictive analytics, and smart infrastructure, thus helping companies save both time and money.

Here are the top applications of AI in the logistics and freight industry and how they are impacting logistics operations.

AI unlocks Big Data’s true potential

Today the world is utilizing more data than ever before to enhance predictive analytics and data-driven insights to improve performance, better decision making, and gain a competitive advantage. Artificial intelligence enables freight operators to use real-time data in their forecasting and decision-making processes related to demand planning, risk assessment, resource planning, route optimization, and freight operations management in a much more effective way.

Better Customer Experience

Using an AI-powered logistics & freight solution enables customer segmentation according to their buying behavior, preference, interest, timing, etc. Also, with big data driven by AI, freight forwarders are in a better position to predict and forecast customers’ behavior even before they arise. The predictive trends can give a better understanding of the purchasing behavior of the shippers and carriers that help freight forwarders customize their offerings.

Real-time decision making

In the freight and logistics industry, route optimization, finding the best carriers and transporter at the optimal cost is a huge task and as well as time-consuming. But with the help of AI, freight forwarders can sweep through thousands of datasets and suggest the best possible route with the best carrier at the best cost. With AI, freight management is expected to become a lot easier as provides the data to keep track of road traffic, reduce fuel consumption, avoid traffic congestion, analyze existing routing, and shortest route optimization algorithms, and thus save cost.

Automate back-office operations 

In freight forwarding and logistics business, documentations and back-office operations play a crucial role and many a times processing the repetitive task causes human errors.

AI plays a huge role in document automation by automating data entry, removing repetitive tasks, and error reconciliation to improve the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of many back-office operations. Moreover, cognitive automation which brings together robotic process automation and AI, enables employees to improve their performance by increasing productivity and accuracy.

Sales and Marketing optimization

AI can improve various aspects of sales and marketing with analytics, chatbots, predictive sales analytics, forecasting demand, content optimization, and many more.

To conclude, artificial intelligence in conjunction with other digital technologies such as the Internet of Things and Big Data analytics is going to be imperative for the logistics and freight industry and bring transformation in the near future. However, with the unforeseen changes in the industry taking place, the readiness and adaptability of freight forwarders for an AI-based freight technology will determine how well they are dealing with the challenges.


  1. AS a small business ( not really your target audience) shipping irreplaceable classic automotive wheels for fitting and returning customer owned parts along with custom fit accessories internationally, my customers first considerations are for the safety of their irreplaceable parts and cost of moving one-off custom parts exposing them to damage and loss. As well, not all insurance for shipping will consider coverage for “personal Property” where there is no invoice attesting to value of their wheels where there is no transaction invoice that declares the value of their owned rare parts- even when the full value for insured is paid up front. For claims payout for customer owned parts for loss or damage can be denied;- only an invoice testifying value of delicate custom made fittings can be considered (often exceeding $10,000.00). My experience in these matters are UGLY! When AI is involved- even worse! Personal interaction and human interaction “workarounds” still dominate over AI. AI follows protocols that discount the unique and unusual. More people with savvy and concern save us from the unknowing and uncaring machines that are not programmed for EVERY possibility. In my business, 1% failure is catastrophic. Yes, I know, Not your problem. Volume dominates in cargo, and I am speaking On-Off situations. Just ranting about losses in small business. Yet, eventually, even in the volume chain, there is only one customer. Thanks for listening.

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