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Shipping & Logistics

Hapag Lloyd revamps mobile app to ease cargo processing

A Hapag Lloyd cargo ship
A Hapag Lloyd cargo ship. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

German shipping line, Hapag Lloyd, last month announced that it has improved the functionality of its optimised mobile application to include quick quotes and online booking.

The move has significantly reduced the process time from days to seconds.

“All Hapag-Lloyd customers can now take advantage of the services offered by the carrier’s optimised app. Rapid quotes make the quotation process for container shipments faster, easier and more convenient globally and around the clock,” said Hapag Lloyd in a statement on its website.

The improvement will allow potential customers to request a binding offer and then book their container immediately and conveniently in a matter of seconds through the app from any part of the world.

Hapag Lloyd operates a fleet of 226 modern container ships and has 389 offices in 127 countries including Kenya.

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It launched its operations in Kenya in April this year. It was the first dedicated service for the company in East Africa sailing from Jeddah to Mombasa, and then to Dar es Salaam, and directly back to Jeddah.

However, the service was expanded last month to include a weekly connection to and from Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. It replaced the earlier service to offer a direct link to the Arabian Gulf and the West Coast of India with East Africa.

Additionally, the shipping line also offers inland transportation to and from East African hinterland locations of Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali (Rwanda), Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Lusaka (Zambia) and Kampala (Uganda). Therefore, the incorporation of an improved mobile application is timely as customers demand instant services.

“We have significantly improved the Hapag-Lloyd mobile app so that it can offer simple customer processes. For us, the enhancement is about creating the simplest and most intuitive customer experience possible,” said Ralf Belusa, head of Hapag-Lloyd’s Digital Channel and Incubation Unit in the statement.

A 2016 case study on how long it takes for customers to get quotations conducted by iConatiners, a web platform which allows importers and exporters to compare rates in real-time and manage their maritime shipments, found that a long response time leads to loss of customers.

“We are very aware of the slowness and the lack of responsiveness and flexibility in the quoting process of ocean freight shipping in its most traditional patterns. In fact, that was what we had in mind when we came up with the idea of our platform when our founders, Ocean Freight Shipping, lost a client who could not be immediately offered several options for shipping merchandise,” reported iContainers.

It called 40 global shipping lines requesting a quote for various services including door-to-door shipment and noted the responses time for each forwarder.

Of this, 50 per cent answered the following week, 15 per cent did not answer, 15 per cent took two to three weeks to answer, 15 per cent answered that they could not provide such a quote, five per cent did not respond even after two months.

When analysing the results of those that responded within the first week, it found that 15 per cent provided the quote in the same day, 20 per cent took three days to respond, 25 per cent took two days to answer and 40 per cent took approximately four to seven days to get a quote.

- African Laughter

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