CargoSphere- SEKO Logistics "Rate Sense"

Without technology, management and distribution of global freight rates is a tedious and complex process. The numerous trade lanes, lack of carrier to carrier standardization, and ongoing updates, including surcharges, fuel pricing and GRIs (general rate increases), means you’ve got an administrative nightmare if you haven’t systematized this aspect of freight management.

Over 10 years ago, CargoSphere was launched to automate rate and contract management and rate distribution.  Since then, CargoSphere’s cloud-based rate technology platform has been developed to specifically address the needs of global shippers, such as SEKO Logistics, a global supply chain and logistics management company.  In 2013, SEKO Logistics added CargoSphere’s rate technology infrastructure to strengthen its Ocean Group’s service capabilities.  Prior to CargoSphere, SEKO Logistics’ extensive global network of offices in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America managed rates regionally.  This structure was inefficient.  It lacked standardization and required a great deal of communication.  With CargoSphere, SEKO Logistics’ global offices are empowered with the ability to quickly and easily access a centralized rate database with a single source of truth.    

Centralized database

Jose Quesada, vice president, ocean services, SEKO Logistics, commented “We have 42 ocean carrier contracts in our database, as well as ocean rates that we receive from numerous neutral NVOCCs over CargoSphere’s secure and confidential Rate Mesh network.  This transparent global rate infrastructure provides our entire Ocean Group with consistent and accurate ocean data that’s accessible 24/7 online.  You get business when you quote fast!  Accuracy and speed is critical.”   

Jose continued, “The need to update our rates is often and ongoing.  We receive GRIs each month from carriers that require rate revisions.  When the GRI deadline arrives, they’re often cancelled by the carrier or negotiated by SEKO Logistics resulting in another update.  A centralized database system is the only way to manage this complexity and preserve the integrity of our rate data.”

Data management & integration

The value of technology to today’s logistics community is vital to operational efficiency and responding to customers in a timely manner.  In addition, logistics technology provides valuable data that allows LSPs to analyze that data to facilitate decision making.  CargoSphere’s reporting functionality provides SEKO Logistics with greater visibility to its pricing and quoting operations.  “I’m able to review rate quoting performance which enables me to evaluate our pricing, where business is developing and what areas require more attention,” said Jose. 

In the future, freight rate systems will be more connected and responsive.  “Network integration is extremely important as it will make the global shipping industry more effective and efficient,” Jose commented.  “I see a real value to VOCC (vessel-operating common carriers) distributing ocean rates in the Cloud through a connected network such as CargoSphere’s Rate Mesh.  The faster you can get data in our hands, the faster SEKO Logistics can execute.  It would be a win, win, win for all parties.  We can all be so much better and more efficient.”

The first phase of SEKO Logistics’ implementation of the CargoSphere rate platform involved replacing inefficient, nonstandard regional rate processes with a centralized rate management system that offered a higher level of data integrity and speed.   In addition, they gained the ability to access freight rates in real-time in the Rate Mesh.  The next phase will be SEKO Logistics integrating CargoSphere into their own in-house systems for greater global visibility and access to complete data for day-to-day business decision-making and to improve customer service.  

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