The study, released by INTTRA, also found that
• 77 percent rate “managing disputes” as their greatest invoicing challenge, with reducing the “time and cost to process invoices” as a close second, at 68 percent.
• The top 10 country e-invoicing launch preferences for shippers include the United Kingdom, China, the Netherlands, United States, Germany, Singapore, Australia, France, Hong Kong and Italy.
"Invoicing, dispute resolution and payment processes are highly fragmented across the industry and represent a significant area of cost and inefficiency,” said Otto Schacht, executive vice president of sea logistics at Kuehne + Nagel. “Logistics providers and their ocean carriers can benefit from standardizing the process, improving visibility to their cash liabilities and providing a more transparent invoicing process, all of which save time and resources."
Millions in Potential Savings During Tough Economic Times
The ocean shipping industry continues to face financial challenges, including record high fuel costs, a reduction in traditional funding sources, decreasing global volume and excess capacity. Manual payment processing results in wasteful costs for carriers and shippers on a daily basis, which can add up to millions of dollars annually: The European Commission Informal Task Force on e-Invoicing found that the average cost of processing a paper invoice in Europe was approximately €30 ($48). According to a Billentis 2012 E-Invoicing/E-Billing Report, switching to electronic invoicing yielded cost savings of 50 percent to 80 percent. For carriers that could mean a potential savings of $55 to $88 for every bill of lading.
Reduction of errors and disputes as a cost-cutting method remains the top driver of increased demand for electronic invoicing in 2013. Survey respondents readily agreed: 93 percent want to manage disputes electronically. Today’s invoice error rates are estimated between 20 percent to 25 percent of all freight invoices. This results in delays and non-payment for carriers and drains time and resources for both parties who must work together to process and resolve these discrepancies.
“We are seeing a rapidly growing adoption and need for e-invoicing in the ocean shipping industry,” said Rod Agona, e-invoice managing director at INTTRA.“It’s no secret that this sector is dealing with a tough economy – one that has likely forever changed. It has both carriers and shippers looking for ways to be more efficient and profitable, and e-Invoicing is a proven method to achieve those goals.”
Survey participants included more than 30 high-volume ocean shippers and freight forwarders, including 4 of the top 5 freight forwarders in TEU volume. The survey was conducted through the fall of 2012 via one-on-one interviews and electronic surveys with executives with titles of director and above from commercial, IT and finance sectors.