Technology increasingly key to tackling international e-commerce shipping finds new report
Nearly nine in 10 now use technological aid to process trade documents as automation and digitalisation establish themselves as cornerstone technologies for cross-border shipping
Digitalisation of trade processes is now deeply embedded within supply chains, as organisations are increasingly turning to automation and external partnerships in order to handle the high volumes of documentation and complexity inherent in international trade says the new state of global cross-border e-commerce report 2023-24 report, which is free to download here.
The report, which draws on a global industry survey of supply chain professionals, found that 87% use technological aids when handling trade documents and 74% automate invoicing for the tax and duties due when shipping cross border.
Organisations seek help to simplify international trade
The move towards digitalisation, automation and partnerships is being driven by the need to meet complex trade requirements with accurate goods classifications while making on-time payments of customs and taxes in what is a fast-paced and frequently changing environment.
Those respondents in the survey that outsource HS classification, duties and tax calculations to a solutions provider or partner said that the top advantage for their operation is better compliance with rules and regulations (40%). Furthermore, 32% said it simplified filing documentation and the same percentage again said that it reduced potentially costly errors across trade processes.
Automation aids with the biggest challenges
The report notes that compliance, delays and costs are significant challenges faced by the majority of businesses conducting cross-border e-commerce, which is pushing automation and outsourcing to the fore as critical aid to tackle these roadblocks.
Technology … has made it substantially easier to create a cross-border commerce experience.
More scrutiny on cross-border movements
Accuracy and compliance are only set to become more important as international authorities are increasingly scrutinising shipments and making sure that attached documentation matches the goods being moved.
“Cross-border e-commerce has flown underneath the radar for quite some time in terms of customs and government scrutiny. However, due to the volume of packages flowing through customs today, there is a lot more scrutiny on it,” says Evan Wright, Senior Director of Growth, Cross Border for report partners and tax software providers Avalara. Now, there are “a lot more eyeballs trying to figure out what is actually flowing through in these parcels and therefore they're creating more requirements.”
However, he sees that “technology … has made it substantially easier to create a cross-border commerce experience.”
This viewpoint is borne out by the report research, which underscores that digital aids are now the industry norm and are providing competitive advantages to users, while lowering the costs of conducting cross-border shipping.