Shipping calculator: quote transports online 24/7

Bastian Späth, CEO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Opened laptop with opened website for shipping cost calculation of a transport.

Many freight forwarding customers have fixed rates with their in-house freight forwarder. In addition, they want a simple and transparent way to calculate transport prices. Freight forwarders can meet this need by using a price calculator for spot price requests. They can also tap into a new customer base by using this kind of online booking software.

Price negotiations are a special ritual between freight forwarders and their customers. Their goal is to find a favourable rate for both sides and agree on fair terms. Once this groundwork has been laid, the next quote calculation is just a matter of mathematics. Therefore, freight forwarders can benefit from offering online calculators for spot rates:

  • They eliminate the need for their sales department to prepare quotations.
  • They tap into an additional clientele.
  • They offer a self-service option to existing customers.
  • They can compete with online providers.

Freight forwarders thus create price transparency when they provide automated shipping calculators online. At the same time, they give customers much-needed assistance in calculating their freight costs for general cargo, national and international shipments.


How can freight forwarders use a shipping calculator?

Digital freight forwarders have led the way: current transport prices can be calculated and displayed online using a calculation tool. One good way to do this is to access your cost structure and associated rates in your transport management system (TMS) over an application programming interface (API). Depending on the complexity, it may be possible to simply calculate the transport costs in an Excel spreadsheet. This is an easy way for prospects to obtain a price indication based on key data such as starting point, destination, dimensions and weights. Prices for additional services are calculated next. Finally, the prospect enters all required billing data and can book the transport online.


Online bookings improve utilisation rates

A shipping calculator enables traditional freight forwarders to offer their services online using simple software and compete with their digital rivals. Online freight forwarders, forwarding alliances and sales portals make it possible to order transports directly on websites. This provides access to shipments from occasional transport customers who are not on the contact lists of a freight forwarder's typical sales force. These orders are essentially bonus business for traditional providers, which increases utilisation rates on their transports and thus improves the pricing per truck.


Shipping calculator: software opens up new customer groups for freight forwarders

As digitalisation takes hold and a generational shift takes place, more and more digital natives are climbing to management positions in companies. Digital natives are used to getting information online and thoroughly researching upcoming decisions. Online shipping calculators meet this need. Software with simple booking options and an easy-to-understand quotation structure open up this younger target group to freight forwarders. And that is a great reason to add a digital shipping calculator to your sales channels.


Additional business with online sales

Customer service and direct sales: These two important arguments suggest that freight forwarders should expand their distribution channels digitally. The technical implementation is simple: all that is needed is a software module implemented in the website or service portal with access to the cost calculator. The software for the shipping calculator will have paid for itself and demonstrated its value if it increases transport capacity utilisation and generates online bookings from new customer groups.

Bastian Späth
Bastian Späth

As a college-educated computer scientist, Bastian Späth understands how IT solutions are developed from the ground up. For more than 15 years, he has spent every workday collecting requirements, finding ideas, developing designs, setting up projects and getting them safely across the finish line.

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