An API is a computer code that allows 2 independent computer systems to communicate with each other. The API returns a series of answers to questions asked by a system to another. With APIs, data transfers are consistent, accurate and real-time.
APIs help to bridge the gap of information between carriers, forwarders, shippers and other supply chain partners.
Transportation is a relationship business.
Speeding and automating the process of transferring large amounts of data makes getting deals done much simpler. As such, forwarders can fully focus on the logistics, carrier relationships and service to shippers.
The availability of APIs across a range of logistics functions facilitates the digitization of the freight sector that is continuously embracing efficient means of system-to-system communication.
Indeed, APIs are gaining traction. Multiple carriers expose their APIs to forwarders, shippers and software providers rather than funneling information via email, flat files, web portal or EDI.
For example, carriers have begun to open up APIs for real-time data around schedules, rates, booking, documentation, tracking and online payment.
There are many advantages of freight APIs:
Simple connections – APIs are activated through a simple Internet connection. APIs are cloud-based so they can be maintained and updated without disrupting shipping operations.
Secure data exchanges – modern APIs shouldn’t create any security concerns as long as they follow modern standards for encryption and authentication.
Real-time shipment rating – a freight API offers instant accurate rates that are immediately usable by shippers. An API stays on top of carriers’ changing rates and available capacity. In addition, automation decreases possible errors.
Online booking – when a shipper books a shipment online, it triggers a set of actions including confirmation of pickup details/shipping instructions, automated pickup order and shipment booking with the carrier.
Easy reuse of shipment data – APIs integrated into a TMS enable Operations to request, search, upload and download all shipment data/documents already entered online by a shipper.
Real-time tracking – a freight API offers insights into actual shipment status and ETA. Updated status can be relayed via email, text messaging or laptop alerts thanks to API interface. Potential cost savings and improved customer service result from enhanced location data.
Automated billing and payment – APIs with payment gateways allow shippers to pay online per shipment or at agreed-upon periodicity. This reduces billing errors and avoids payment delays.
For a forwarder, APIs allow for an increased focus on the relationships and service to their shippers. For a shipper, automation and the ability to make real-time decisions offer convenience and real total cost savings.
With the abundance of APIs around the movement of goods, driven in large part by the rise of eCommerce, software providers build functional ecosystems for forwarders.
APIs connect the forwarders’ back-office systems with their client-facing platforms. These connected platforms allow forwarders to sell all their services online and to a broader range of shipping clients.
At Distroship, we propose an integrated and modular platform so forwarders can easily sell their services to a larger market. Our platform shares all operational data with your existing software so your teams can keep on using their usual tools. Our digital solutions are integrated with different types of software including TMS, CRM, RMS, Accounting Systems, Payment Gateways, Carriers’ Database and ERP/eCommerce Platforms.