What The (X-Border) Freight?

cross border tracker June

Like a cargo ship slow steaming along transoceanic routes, when it comes to cross-border payments, the freight industry is slowly catching up. Andrew Fine, CFO of Freightos, talks to PYMNTS about the intersection of payments and freight in moving, literally, X-Border commerce forward. That, along with the latest updates from around the space and profiles of more than 93 global payment service providers in this edition of the X-Border Optimization Tracker.™

Despite technological advancements that have helped a wide range of merchants accept mobile payments, freight shipping has lagged behind.

According to Andrew Fine, CFO of Freightos, a sales automation platform provider in the freight services sector, most shipping companies are still stuck in the past when it comes to accepting payments and have yet to make the shift from paper to digital. That means being paid with physical checks and shipping paper documents along with the freight, which can cause some serious problems or confusion.

Fine and Freightos are looking to change all that with a software-as-a-service platform offering an intermediary solution for importers and exporters, allowing them to organize contracts and automate sales and quotes online. In the June edition of the X-Border Payments Optimization Tracker™, PYMNTS spoke with Fine to take a look at the latest in the cross-border shipping world and what’s on the digital horizon.

Here’s a sneak peek: 

“The difficult thing is that rates for quoting freight shipments are very, very complex,” he said. “It’s not like Amazon – where you have a price of a book or a CD or a watch or anything else – or any other marketplace. With any shipping request there are potentially 6, 7 or 8 different prices to get the quote out to a customer.” 

Add paper checks into the mix, and the industry’s complexity only intensifies. For Fine, a way to consolidate this intricate and largely antiquated process in a streamlined digital format seemed like the freight industry’s missing puzzle piece. 

Enter Freightos, which offers shippers a virtual home base for their freighting needs.

 “We had to build a platform that took rates – which are structured differently with every single freight forwarder – to develop a unified format which was being kind of adopted throughout the industry on our side of it, having to create and upload it into a system, so that when a shipper, let’s say, is able to request the shipment quote, and we have the unified format to actually pull in quotes from all the different freight forwarders on the marketplace,” he explained. 

Crossing the globe

By eliminating physical boundaries, modern technology and cross-border commerce is making the world smaller, and several governments and countries reacted to that global shrinking this month. Some embraced the increasing digital dependence this change brings, while others tightened trade policies in an attempt to strengthen their borders.

For example, Amazon China recently formed a pact with the Chinese city of Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang Province, to join forces in an effort to create more cross-border opportunities for local merchants. The European Union, too, announced it would move to ease their cross-border commerce rules. It issued a proposal that would help create more opportunities for cross-border transactions by forcing companies to show international options for foreign websites.

On the flip side, merchants in Turkey may soon need to shrink their cross-border operations. Citing PayPal’s failure to meet licensing requirement set by government, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the nation would no longer allow them to accept payments made via PayPal. The move is expected to impact small merchants relying on international purchases to stay afloat.

The June X-Border Payments Optimization Tracker™ also features the latest news and analysis and contains profiles of 93 global payment service providers, including four new additions to the Tracker.


To download the June edition of the PYMNTS X-Border Payments Optimization Tracker, click the button below.


About The Tracker

The PYMNTS X-Border Payments Optimization Tracker™ provides an organizing framework for evaluating the many players that help merchants optimize their cross-border clients effectively and efficiently.