The news hype about AI (artificial intelligence) and the big money investments flowing into the freight and logistics technology space seem to indicate that the industry is making great strides in adopting digitalization and using the latest forms of technology, such as AI. But, in reality, there is still a lot of room left to automate processes and adopt cutting-edge technology. The focus on AI and machine learning has been considerable in recent times, but is it actually being used by the forwarding and logistics industry today?

Overall, AI is a relatively untapped technology in the logistics space. We are barely skimming the surface of what’s possible when existing AI technology is applied to logistics processes. There are a few freight tech solutions using machine learning and smart algorithms for specific functions, but AI in this industry is truly in its infancy, far from reaching its full potential. In general, less than 3-4% of the logistics industry is seeing any benefit from this technology. One of the reasons that AI is lagging is that it requires extremely large datasets, which have not historically been available in large part because of the lack of digitized and normalized data. Plus, it requires greater computing power, something that has not always been available, particularly to small and midsized companies. Over the next 3-5 years, as more businesses move to the cloud and move to digitize manual processes, we will see a noticeable pick-up in the development and adoption of AI solutions, an exciting moment for the industry.

Gabriel T. Ruz Jr., Chief Innovation Officer, Co-Founder & Board Member at Magaya
Gabriel T. Ruz Jr., Chief Innovation Officer, Co-Founder & Board Member at Magaya

Simplifying Customs Complexity

One area of freight management where AI has tremendous potential is in the processing of cross-border shipments. Customs compliance is one aspect of the industry where massive amounts of transactions are processed daily. These significant volumes have helped accelerate the use of AI to enable businesses to file the massive number of customs documents much, much faster. For instance, bots can be used to scrape information from a commercial invoice to auto-complete required CBP filings, saving time and reducing errors related to manual keypunching.

AI Bots

Manually loading multi-page carrier rate contracts into a rate management system is another tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone process, albeit a common one for logistics service providers. At Magaya, we’ve developed a proprietary AI-powered rate processing bot to assist our fully-managed services freight rate management team, an important and unique value-add for our clients. In no time, the bot scans carrier contracts into our Magaya Rate Management solution, enhancing the team’s productivity, delivering added value to our clients, saving precious time, and improving data accuracy.

Bots, built with AI, are self-thinking engines that scrape data and map datasets to automate repetitive tasks and provide faster processing as compared to humans. They help eliminate redundant, time-consuming processes, so that the human teams can…

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