+352 278 631 80 hello@shipsta.com

The once-traditional freight procurement function is now facing a tsunami of unprecedented change. To embrace this upheaval, businesses must discard clunky, old-school manual processes. And in its stead, embrace artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that automate freight procurement workflows and extract information to drive smarter decisions. 

There is no getting around it. 

Asset 37@2x

What’s more, in 2024, the secret to a successful shift from dinosaur to digital (AI-powered) freight procurement lies in delivering real ROI. 

And real ROI = improves efficiency + meets ESG standards + ensures risk mitigation.

To coast through this transformative phase, in this article, let us explore the latest AI trends in freight procurement.


Humans + AI in procurement for workforce optimization


Asset 33@2x

57% of supply chain leaders state that hiring and retaining qualified workers is a stiff challenge. And since businesses can no longer secure additional staff with ease, the existing workforce drowns under the pressures of the labor-intensive day-to-day freight procurement tasks.

In 2024, we will see more companies adopt digital freight procurement platforms that simplify and automate routine tasks – from the creation of tactical tenders and mini bids, identification of cost-optimization opportunities and comparison of complex carrier quotes to the scanning of rate information (across platforms). 

As AI works at improving speed and accuracy of repetitive procurement activities, your employees’ time is freed-up so that they may focus on work that requires greater creative, strategic, and empathetic execution. 

Example: The Global Logistics Procurement team of Puma, one of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturers, optimized the working hours of their employees by 50% by leveraging SHIPSTA’s AI-powered platform. 


Beat volatility with automated analysis and workflows


Asset 34@2x

Freight rates and vessel schedules fluctuate a lot every time a crisis strikes – be it the Red Sea Crisis, Baltimore bridge collapse, or inflationary struggles. In such a dynamic environment, quickly negotiating rates, refreshing them, or adding surcharges to the rates becomes near impossible. The lack of real-time and up-to-date rate analysis is the real gap here. 

Digital platforms like SHIPSTA integrate with external index providers such as Xeneta to extract objective benchmarks in today’s dynamic environment. 

Our platform automates the comparison of base rates with quoted rates and market rates analysis so that you are always in the know when it comes to the best pricing options (amongst other metrics). Such data analyses also support the development of more accurate budgets and forecasts.

Rise of autonomous procurement

Asset 36@2x

Procurement is a very complicated process with hundreds of factors that need to be taken into account such as price, timing, routes, and CO2 emissions. Finding it overwhelming to manage it all on multiple Excel sheets?

This is where autonomous procurement swoops in to save the day. By harnessing SHIPSTA’s smart optimization engine, it's possible to secure the most optimized solution that automatically compares and evaluates LSPs at scale to find the ideal combination of cheapest, fastest, or greenest options for your business procurement strategy. Once you set the custom business rules or criteria in the optimization engine, it runs complex procurement analysis in real-time, with little to no human intervention.



Address and mitigate risks with AI, post-procurement


Asset 38@2x

Unexpected supply chain breakdowns, compliance issues, and security breaches. These are the stuff of nightmares for most shippers. After all, your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

To keep your business risk-free, what you need is an AI-powered platform that periodically predicts non-compliant patterns and supply chain anomalies, within specific routes or lanes. It should also be able to detect freight transport issues in real-time and immediately execute remedial measures. 

Example: SHIPSTA can integrate with Freight Visibility solutions, such as Windward.ai, to combat unsavory events such as delayed shipments. And it does so by triggering custom workflows every time freight delays are detected, automatically launching spot requests into the market. So, no matter what the emergency, you will always have access to alternate shipping options.


Keep it ESG-kosher with AI

Asset 35@2x

Today, sustainability-led regulations are more complex than ever before. Meanwhile, it's still a real struggle to measure and track transport emissions and identify the right data that will help you meet ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals.

As per the World Economic Forum, artificial intelligence and digital twins offer “powerful tools enabling the next wave of climate change solutions”. So it shouldn't come as a surprise when we say that more companies will be leveraging technologies (read: SHIPSTA's green procurement modules) that automatically track direct and indirect emissions (including scope 3) and create customized reports. Our innovative platform leverages AI to optimize freight procurement decisions based on key sustainability KPIs.



What will the freight procurement function look like in five to ten years? One can only guess, as the industry and technology pivots and evolves on the regular. 

But if you want to harness the latest AI opportunities (as they become key catalysts for growth), click here to book a demo with the experts at SHIPSTA.