Key Facts

30,000

fewer emails

1,750

hours saved quoting

7.2%

conversion rate

20%

Improvement in sales conversion

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Skyline Express won 500+ shipments and saved 30,000 emails in its first year using cargo.one Storefront

With Volker Sim, CEO at Skyline Express

The introduction of cargo.one Storefront has automated over 7,000 quotes for Skyline Express, saving them thousands of hours and emails, and helping them win over partners globally.

“The Kuehne + Nagels and DHLs of the world have whole departments dedicated to digitalization that are larger than our entire team, but we always push to keep up with them. With Storefront, however, we haven’t just kept the pace but actually stepped ahead.”

– Volker Sim, CEO, Skyline Express

Challenges

  • Keeping pace with technological developments of the large global forwarders

  • Growing the business without compromising their focus on tight business relationships

A 60-strong sea and air freight forwarder with its own warehouses and trucking fleet, Skyline Express stands for reliability, speed, and tailored logistics solutions. Based in Lage, Northern Germany, Skyline is a company engaged in their local community, as evidenced by the regional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) award they have recently earned for their sustainability work.

Approaching 25 years in operations, they also pride themselves on being a future-oriented company, and recognize the importance of adapting to the rapidly changing landscape of air freight. "The world is moving regardless, whether we like it or not, and I feel a huge responsibility for the future," says Volker Sim, CEO at Skyline.

“We are at a turning point – there’s going to be some major breakthroughs. And I firmly believe that not dealing with that, not investing time and attention into the future, would be a big, big mistake.”

But Volker remains ever the optimist, declaring, “Every change brings options. Every change is an opportunity.”

Skyline and cargo.one: a long-standing, fruitful partnership

A true digital pioneer in airfreight, Skyline Express has been relying on cargo.one to quote and book their air cargo shipments since 2018. Recognizing early the positive impact digital tools will have on efficiency and customer service, Skyline has consistently leveraged cargo.one's capabilities to enhance their operations.

Volker vividly recalls the initial collaboration with cargo.one. "The start was very interesting," he comments. When Oliver Neumann, Co-CEO of cargo.one, proposed spending a week at their office to learn about their workflows and ensure the platform met their needs, Volker found it a unique but promising approach. "It was a rather genuine proposition, but also a sign that cargo.one values personal relationships as much as we do,” he remarks.

Fynn Weiser, Junior Airfreight Manager at Skyline, also remembers and appreciates the in-depth engagement, and notes the significant improvements cargo.one brought right away. "It was very helpful to see how fast and efficient the tool could make us, both when quoting and when placing bookings. It was clear from the beginning that going direct to the airlines was far more time-intensive. cargo.one has saved us a lot of time,” explains Fynn.

Years into the partnership, Skyline has placed thousands of bookings through cargo.one and continues to lead in adopting new technologies such as in 2023, when they participated in the development of cargo.one’s Storefront, which allows freight forwarders to build their own online customer portal.

Storefront, a new tool in Skyline’s arsenal

One year in, Storefront has processed over 7,000 quotes and over 500 shipments for Skyline, and it has transformed the way they collaborate with their partners.

Fynn admits that while Storefront was something surprising and entirely new at first, the addition proved a no-brainer and did not require any time to become familiar with: “Agents can now do business with us any time around the clock. Time differences don’t get in the way: our overseas agents can directly check rates by themselves, make a reservation or place a booking. It's a big advantage for us.”

Storefront allows Skyline’s partners to get the same door-to-door quotes they would get by email, but without the wait. Thanks to cargo.one's direct integrations with over 50 airlines, Storefront can dynamically generate sell rates by blending live air freight rates with Skyline’s specific origin and destination charges based on the shipment’s Incoterms. 

The system is fully customizable and allows freight forwarders to set different charges depending on the region, lane or even customer. This allows Skyline to fully control pricing, respecting prior agreements with long-term partners and adjusting rates according to market dynamics. “Freight forwarding is a people’s business, and Storefront allows us to reflect our relationships, experience and know-how,” explains Volker.

But when asked about Storefront’s impact on Skyline, Volker paints a bigger picture: “The Kuehne + Nagels and DHLs of the world have whole departments dedicated to digitalization that are larger than our entire team, but we always push to keep up with them. With Storefront, however, we haven’t just kept the pace but actually stepped ahead.”

Saving 1,750 hours and 30,000 emails per year

More concretely, Storefront has impacted two areas at Skyline: productivity and agent service.

Volker describes the traditional way of quoting as inefficient: “An agent, who’s himself competing with other agents for a shipment, would contact us and three other forwarders in Germany, and each of us would then contact the same three or four airlines.” Each quotation would require multiple emails back and forth, and take anything between 10 minutes and half a day, depending on the time of the day and the likelihood of the shipment materializing – a substantial amount of work for a low probability of winning business.

Having quoted over 7,000 shipments through Storefront last year, Volker estimates they’ve saved at least 1,750 hours of work and 30,000 emails, noting: “When it comes to efficiency, Storefront has been an extreme game changer.” As a consequence, the Skyline Express team can now dedicate their full attention to their most important shipments and customers.

“We don’t have to spend time on shipments that earn us a few cents on the kilo. Storefront works fantastically for that.”

Fynn notes that they see a very similar conversion rate between quoting manually and automatically quoting through Storefront, which is remarkable since Storefront also wins back time for them: “We have more time for other things, like controlling shipments and making sure they arrive on time. And we can spend more time with our clients, improving our relationships.”

More options to delight partners

Volker also appreciates the visibility Storefront provides them, as any agent using cargo.one with a shipment from or to Germany can get their rates and book with them, even if they have never worked together before. He explains, “Being present is a good thing. That’s why we go to all of these conferences and meetings. So to be able to be more present without that much extra work is great.”

In fact, Storefront is not replacing networks, conferences, and traditional business development – rather, it offers another tool in Skyline’s arsenal. Fynn, who recently returned from a PPL network conference in Thailand, shares how 30 to 40 percent of new contacts he meets now raise the issue of digital quoting from the outset. Skyline introduces Storefront as an integral part of its offerings:  “We make sure to showcase that for airfreight, Skyline offers this new tool where you can check our rates instantly, no matter the time, and also place bookings. But you are  always welcome to just send me an email, if that’s what you prefer.”

Fynn reports that they have now made some partners who prefer to book 100% online and that probably would not be working with them without Storefront, but it ultimately depends on the person: “Everybody is different, at the end of the day. Although we do see a tendency that younger agents prefer to book digitally with us. Kind of like the next generation of freight forwarders.”

cargo.one offers Skyline smart options to help it exceed its customers’ expectations, says Volker: “You have to set your company priorities. We want to be efficient but we operate more on the personal side and we value depth of relationships and trust. So, we don’t impose Storefront on our partners, we offer it as an option. And so we have partners that love it, and others that prefer to call us and ask us about our vacation.”

Ultimately, cargo.one has provided Skyline with more options, more tools, more power. “Storefront shows what forward-thinking smaller freight forwarders can achieve with the right partners like cargo.one,” summarizes Volker.

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