Digitalising Logistics to Power Trade and Interconnectivity – Q&A with CK Ng
Logistics is often perceived as a traditional industry that requires complicated paperwork and processes. Mr Chee Keong (CK) Ng, Vice-President of GeTS, shares how companies can reduce their paperwork and be more efficient with CALISTA – a global supply chain orchestration platform that brings freight forwarders, custom brokers, warehouse providers and e-commerce providers to a one-stop solution.
Q: Can you share with us some of the common pain points logistics companies face?
CK: Logistics companies often need to deal with a lot of paperwork, from purchase orders to invoices and payments. When they import or export a good, they have to manually search for a freight forwarder and book a space in a carrier. At the port, they have to submit the right documentations and know if their goods require any special taxes. Depending on their type of good, they would have to check with various agencies, such as the HSA, for any special requirements. If their goods need to be kept at a certain temperature, they would need to separately liaise with the warehouse providers. It is a long and tedious process.
Q: How can CALISTA Logistics help companies to streamline their processes?
CK: When we digitise data, we are able to improve connectivity across all parties, from the freight forwarders to the warehouse providers and the banks. For instance, the booking of shipment processes used to be done offline. Now, with CALISTA Logistics, a subset under CALISTA, customers can search for freight forwarders, book their containers, track their shipments and make payments all on a single online platform. Using technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we help companies to integrate both the digital and physical processes of logistics, helping them to save time, be more efficient and make fewer human errors.
Q: Can you tell us more about CALISTA freight exchange that was recently launched in April?
CK: CALISTA freight exchange is a complete end-to-end online module which facilitates customers with RFQs, bookings, invoices and online payments, with visibility throughout the entire process. It is also a marketplace for freight forwarders – whether you are operating on air, rail, land or sea – to come together, collaborate and meet their different cross-trading needs. All information and freight rates are available on the platform 24/7, so that freight forwarders can make their decisions accurately, quickly and easily.
Q: How is CALISTA Logistics different from similar products in the market?
CK: With trade, it’s all about the network. We are the only platform to have connection through our stakeholder with a network of over 50 coastal, rail and inland terminals in 18 countries. It is connected to more than 60 customs nodes globally and with over 80 carriers. With our large coverage of networks, we are able to give our customers maximum outreach and facilitate different types of trades that require different compliances and carriers. Even though CALISTA Logistics is less than two years old, we have already seen high volume TEUs of transactions so far.
Q: What are some of the ways consumers and buyers benefit from a more efficient supply chain orchestration platform?
CK: With interconnectivity within the logistics ecosystem, companies are able to obtain more accurate data and information on their goods. Consumers who are waiting for their goods can then obtain more reliable updates on their deliveries. When companies are more efficient, they save costs as well, and these savings can be passed on to consumers in terms of lower pricing. It’s a win-win for all.
Q: Are there any enhancements in the pipeline for CALISTA Logistics?
CK: Yes. We will be introducing spot/instant rates from carriers in CALISTA freight exchange, so that freight forwarders won’t need to go through the traditional negotiation process for fixed contract rates in order to secure their containers.
We will also be partnering with various fintech partners to facilitate online cross-border payments. By doing so, companies, especially SMEs who have global businesses, can avoid expensive telegraphic transfer fees and mitigate some risks from exchange rates.
Lastly, we are planning to bring instant messaging service onto our platform so that our freight forwarders and carriers across various time zones can connect to each other instantly.