case studies / Rebuilding customer delight

How a European freight forwarder improved their customers’ experience

2-day reduction in time to invoice

66% reduction in customer information requests

100% critical notifications delivered on time

100% of shipments met internal KPI for timely invoice issuance






The employees of a European freight forwarder, were overwhelmed by inconsistent, often inaccurate container updates obtained from different carrier and terminal websites or provided by email. They walked a fine line between frustrating customers with too much information and providing the necessary container updates. 

What they needed was easy and efficient access to accurate cargo status information. They also needed a way to give customers timely updates without any extraneous information. 

Meanwhile, their invoicing practices were not ideal. Inconsistent container visibility prevented the freight forwarder from knowing that there would be demurrage from the ocean carrier that would need to be billed to the customer. As a result, the freight forwarder sometimes received surprise charges at a much later date and would be forced to choose between reinvoicing and irking their customer or eating the overage.



The TradeLens platform enabled the forwarder to develop a smarter and faster system that gives them a customer service advantage. Through a seamless integration of open-standard APIs, they were able to start receiving event data from ocean carriers, terminals, and intermodal operators. The data is received in real time directly from vetted supply chain partners. Employees can now generate container notifications for every customer based on their preferences. 

They gained enhanced visibility for these exporters through a new interface that they created leveraging TradeLens’s flexible and scalable technology stack. 

The forwarder is now able to make shipping information available to their customers in a digital Bill of Lading, the TradeLens eBL. 

Since implementing TradeLens, most services are paid against Bill of Lading release allowing the company to issue invoices faster, and most importantly, reduce errors and omissions.


TradeLens-powered business process improvements have given the freight forwarder a differentiating advantage in customer service in this highly competitive sector and region. 
The forward can automate reports once or twice a day, enabling them to proactively provide updates exporters need without overwhelming them.
Reduced customer information request calls by 1.5 times.
Relevant and reliable event data has removed the chaos from the process of providing updates on exceptions. Their goal is to notify clients of any change resulting in a delay of two or more days.
For a thousand containers processed through TradeLens, the freight forwarder has cut missed communications with customers to zero.
Now they have a system in place for improving cash flow in two ways. 
Option 1
The first is through greater transportation chain visibility which enables the forwarder to issue invoices faster without the risk of errors. They can check event data to see if there will be demurrage, calculate the cost and issue an accurate invoice without waiting for the carrier’s invoice — saving an average of 2 days. For the 1,000 containers that were observed, 100% of invoices were issued on or ahead of schedule.
Option 2
The second way is by leveraging digital documents. The freight forwarder can now provide a TradeLens eBL to their client against a service they performed thereby “proving it.” By not having to wait for the original Bill of Lading from the carrier, they can get paid days sooner.

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