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Digital bookings for cargo increases, but sales agents are still needed


DIGITALIZATION of the cargo sales and booking process is growing in popularity among carriers, judging by the success of online booking platforms like cargo.one and Freightos' WebCargo. However, real live sales agents are still spearheading the process, according to speakers at the Cargo Facts EMEA earlier this month in Frankfurt.

"We have a high degree of digitalisation," Lufthansa Cargo's vice president of global sales management Silke Niemann was quoted as saying during a roundtable discussion on the topic of innovation in a report by New York's Air Cargo World.

Ms Niemann estimates that 80 per cent of bookings for standard products run through the airline's websites. Digital bookings should not, however, be confounded with sales automation. Despite offering capacities through digital platforms, Lufthansa Cargo's sales representatives still handle 90 per cent of the transactions by value, she noted.

While shippers still prefer a combination of digital convenience and human sales support, the trend towards automation appears to be gaining traction.

In a survey of its customers, Lufthansa Cargo found that shippers increasingly demand the transparency that digital touch points can offer. In December, the carrier started offering dynamic spot pricing in 12 markets, including real-time bookable rates with routing and product choices.

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