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The term ‘autonomous freight procurement’ is thrown around a lot in logistics today. However, it’s far more than just a buzzword, it’s the one of the most exciting and game-changing developments in the shipping world today.

So what exactly is autonomous freight procurement and how can it turbocharge your strategy?

What is autonomous freight procurement?

Let’s first define exactly what autonomous means: Cambridge dictionary defines autonomous machines or systems as ‘A machine or system that’s able to operate without being controlled directly by humans’.

So put simply, an autonomous freight procurement system completely removes manual human processes from logistics procurement. So how close are we to fully autonomous procurement?


What does autonomous freight procurement look like today?

If you’re still working with Excel sheets, autonomous procurement might sound a thousand years away, but in reality, freight procurement platforms already boast a host of autonomous features.

Freight procurement platforms integrate real-time market data into their systems to power the autonomous digital decision making. Intelligent software, like SHIPSTA, can also instantly create RfQs without any manual input and manage much of the tender process automatically, like performing automated sanity checks and carrier communication.

At this stage, fully autonomous procurement, where entire tenders can be run by a platform with no human intervention, isn’t far away. And it’s the people who adopt this technology now (and learn to trust what this tech can do for them) who’ll be miles ahead of the game when fully autonomous platforms arrive.

How can autonomous freight procurement turbocharge your strategy?

This futuristic tech might sound flash, but how does it actually improve your freight procurement processes?

Here are four benefits to automating your freight procurement…

1. It removes manual work your team

Autonomous freight procurement software digitally performs slow manual tasks that make tendering slow and tedious. For example, instead of having to manually analyse which lanes you should tender to get the best price – autonomous software flags which lanes to tender and automatically creates an RfQ for them.

When you don’t have to spend time putting in this manual work, you can spend more time strategizing to create a smarter procurement plan.

2. You can tender more regularly and reduce freight spend

Using autonomous procurement software means every RfQ and tender you make takes a fraction of the time, so you can tender more regularly.

Tendering more regularly allows you to follow fluctuations in market rates accurately, so you don’t get locked into annual contracts that leave you paying above the odds when the market drops.

Read: How to keep your shipping costs low when freight rates are high

3. It removes human error from freight procurement

Human error is a reality in every industry that relies on manual processes. The trouble is it can have some pretty big consequences: Did you know 88% of data breaches are caused by human error?

When it comes to freight procurement, human error can cause tenders to move at a snail’s pace as rate sheets are passed back and forth between carriers and shippers to correct mistakes.

Using autonomous procurement software, that can automatically detect errors and recommend corrections, completely removes this time-consuming processes and ensures that approved rates are always 100% correct.

4. It makes intelligent decisions automatically

There’s one thing computers will always be better at than us humans: calculations. They are designed to analyse millions of data points and decipher complex equations in milliseconds.

This immense analytical power means today’s software can make truly intelligent decisions for us at the click of a button. Freight procurement software integrates intelligent decision-making technology into its freight procurement tools – so it can make these data-supported decisions in the blink of an eye. This means you can rest easy knowing your freight procurement strategy is supported by the best decision-making tools available.

Do you want to learn more about how SHIPSTA can automate your freight procurement strategy? Book a demo and speak to one of our logistics experts today. 



SHIPSTA powers smart logistics procurement with a digital platform that connects shippers and carriers to ensure a frictionless procurement process for spot and contract buying, entirely online. It automates complex tasks, provides unrivalled visibility and supports fast data-driven decision making.

Designed and built by experts in logistics procurement, SHIPSTA is bringing transparency, automation and efficiency to the global logistics industry. It is used by some of the world’s largest companies to respond to market volatility, control freight costs and manage risk. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Mertert, Luxembourg and Hamburg, Germany.