Ocean freight RFQ: 3 experts tips for professionals in 2022

How can you run a successful freight RFQ? In this ultimate ocean freight procurement guide, we share 3 key topics to get in order before sending your tender: good communication, solid logistics data and dedicated and modern technology (freight procurement platforms).

Ocean tenders for large and midsize shippers

Large ocean freight shippers are definitely tendering. Yet, midsize shippers are often unsure about picking the right moment to tender but do plan eventually to tender in Q1. Smaller ocean shippers are not running ocean tenders at the moment. In general, we expect a huge volume of tenders to be tendered in Q1 which will not be beneficial for anyone. Getting ahead of the pack may be better also as forwarder tender teams will be overloaded and will sort out the best deals for them at the expense of lesser ones.

What is the difference between an RFP and an RFQ?


RFPs and RFQs have a lot in common. Both of these publications are intended to assist in the alignment of price and services with shipping requirements. An RFP is a document in which a corporation requests a business proposal from those interested in their products or services in order to assist lay down formal processes. An RFQ is often utilized when a corporation has established processes but requires additional cost information.

The more detail you can supply in RFPs and RFQs, the better the answer will be.

It’s not difficult to write an RFP or RFQ if you know what you need to include in order to get the most accurate proposal or quote. Basic details like what you’re delivering and how much it weighs are vital, but digging further and being explicit about fuel surcharges you’re comfortable with or your normal lead time will have a bigger influence.

More recent articles from our blog

freightender-logistics-procurement-softeare

The ultimate Ocean Freight RFQ/RFQ guide for shippers in 2022

The customary period for ocean freight negotiations appears to be disrupted by current global and economic factors. With shifting global trade policies and a healthier market for liners, it’s more crucial than ever to have solid data and information before you negotiate with suppliers. We’ve put up a little survival guide with helpful hints, questions to ask yourself, and resources to ensure you’re prepared when negotiating with your suppliers.

Requesting ocean freight rate bids can be a guessing game at times. Resulting in irritating and frustrating for some. It’s also time-consuming. And while supply chain, logistics, and/or ocean freight managers must do it every year or so, it’s ideal to be prepared with the essential data to assure a successful procedure.

Need ocean freight industry data and rates? Want to connect it with a leading procurement platform? Check-in with us for more info about our platform and partnership with leading Ocean intelligence company Drewry. Read more: Freightender and Drewry partner to bring all-in-one ocean freight procurement

Questions to ask yourself before running an ocean freight RFQ

  1. Do you have an OCEAN freight buying strategy?
  2. Do you have a platform to ensure maximum cost control?
  3. Do you have the right knowledge to run sea freight tenders in the current challenging logistics world?
  4. How do I justify an increase in the cost of ocean transportation?
  5. How do my pricing compare to market ocean freight rates and those of my competitors?
  6. Am I successfully dealing with my supplier, or do I have room for improvement?
  7. How can I demonstrate to my supervisors that I have done or can do a better job negotiating competitive contract rates?
  8. Is this the right supplier for me?
  9. Should I consider switching shipping providers for all or parts of my routes?
  10. What is the ideal contract length for specific routes?
  11. Based on how the market has moved and will move, where and from which provider can I acquire a competitive rate?
  12. How will you strengthen relationships with carriers?
  13. Where do you find new carriers?
  14. How do you make your freight flows fit carrier appetite?
  15. How will you better manage carrier partnerships?

3 experts tips to improve ocean freight RFQ’s in 2022

1. Good communication

Freightender tip: Some tender platforms make their tender baseline document for the carriers so complicated that carriers already get frustrated when they see the file with too many tabs to fill in. It can be done so much easier. The easier it is for carriers to fill in your tender document the better the rates and the start of the relationship with a carrier.

2. Solid logistics data

A little known secret is that a tender response to a reasonably sized ocean tender cost quite some money for forwarder organizations. Somewhere between €10,000 and €20,000 depending on the complexity, size, number of accessorials, number of rounds, data completeness and data correctness. Ensure that forwarders can quote efficiently to your tender and stand out of the crowd!

3. Modern tender technology

Many companies think that logistics procurement software is not for them and that it takes too much effort and money to implement it, run it and to get decent value out of it. That used to be so indeed when only the large blue-chip companies hired consultants or bought expensive “enterprise” software for procurement.

freight tender reporting from freightender software
Image is taken from the freightender platform – carrier communication control centre

But that is no longer the case. Nowadays logistics e-sourcing is much more accessible in terms of technology and price and does the job much more efficient which allows you to always get good value out of it.

If you can highly automate the tender management and response process you do not only save time but you gain visibility of the process, better understand how to quote and are faster to turn tenders around. Last but not least you create a better environment for the tender management staff as this work undoubtedly leads to stress and frustration and not many people last longer than 3 years as a pricing analyst because of it.

To conclude, the tender management processes in many organizations can hugely benefit from digitization in efficiency and in cost reduction as well. Although these costs are quite hidden as they can be scattered throughout the organization and within different P&L structures, it is estimated by some forwarders that the cost of responding to an Air or Ocean bid sits between € 10,000-€ 15,000.

Reduce logistics costs and save resources

Save your resources in logistics and automate processes where you can like in logistics procurement, don’t let excel work overburden your analysts, have a system do it for you while you focus on tender results and carrier communication.

Freightender tip: Many tender managers are not aware that a large part of their work can be automated. With a specialized tender process platform, you can gain full visibility and a very efficient tender quotation process. We take out the pain of working with so many different excel, tender files and a lot of manual work and save you a lot of time.

logistics market analysis freightender

Tips for ocean freight RFQ’s in Q1 2022

We speak to a lot of forwarders and shippers and the general picture is that a massive amount of RFQ’s will be launched in January and February 2022. This will not be your regular port congestion but big-time congestion on the desk of the people that need to quote for your tender, the pricing managers and the tender managers. So therefore some free advice!

  • Start as fast and as early as possible with your tender
  • Ensure your data is good and clean
  • Don’t overinvite carriers
  • Use a professional party, platform or provider to tender with
  • Don’t overcomplicate your tender
  • Give the carriers enough time to quote during the different rounds
  • Avoid giving lane updates during the tender

More about ocean procurement from the Freightender blog


At the moment for many companies the question is:

When is the right time to tender? That answer is simple: ASAP. So many companies will be flooding the tender desks of carriers and forwarders, the sooner you drop your RFQ the better while they have time.

The question that is actually more important is:

How should I tender? How you tender really makes a lot of difference. Who you are going to invite, what lanes are you going to tender, how will the data structure look like, what awarding strategies are you going to apply….

Many things to consider. Let our consultants support you so you can run a perfect freight tender.

Pieter Kinds – Founder & CEO of Freightender
Pieter Kinds CEO Freightender

Final insights from the experts of Freightender

Don’t let the market fool you! The current dynamics in logistics have caused shippers not to tender and carriers not to take part in tenders. This comes down to maintaining the status quo: keeping rates and focusing on current customers. That may turn out to be a mistake.


Lack of capacity and high prices are only temporary, however. Right now it is a very good time to see how you can digitise. Create new and better partnerships and processes to come out of the crisis swinging once it will be over. Focus on pro-active instead of reactive and you will be able to better take hold of the future.

Ocean freight rates cannot be prolonged indefinitely. Sometimes you need to run an RFQ to control the damage. Make sure you get capacity for 2022, shipping lines are not waiting around for you to make up your mind. Get the right platform in place to support you with superior logistics procurement.

Thank you for reading Ocean freight RFQ: 3 experts tips for professionals in 2022.

Get the most out of your freight data

Manage tenders, publish tenders, analyse tenders, search for tenders, find carriers, award carriers, manage carriers, manage customers, find new customers, manage opportunities, save money, grow your business,…The possibilities are endless with Freightender and TendrX for carriers and shippers who want the most out of their sales efforts and procurement efforts.

Pieter Kinds

Pieter Kinds

CEO Freightender.com

Freightender is the standard in freight tendering. It makes the tender process lean, smarter and much faster. 
Fully cloud-based. Curious? Request a free live demo and join the Freight Tender Revolution!

Schedule Demo Freight Sourcing

Schedule Demo RFQ Management

NVOCC pricing vs Freight Forwarder pricing

Is the distinction between NVOCCs and freight forwarders significant? This is a common question, therefore we decided to investigate it further in the following post. Read on to learn everything there is to know about NVOCCs, including their responsibilities,...

Road freight tenders: postpone due capacity crisis in logistics?

People in shipper organizations wonder if they need to postpone road tenders as there is talk about capacity issues everywhere and apparently carriers don't respond to tenders. The worry is right as the logistics world has changed but of course, you should tender if...

Pricing management in Logistics: Lever with the highest impact on profit

The relevance of profitable freight and logistics pricing strategies is highlighted by the combined effects of increasing industry competitiveness and rising transportation costs. By now the logistics industry is in turmoil for well over a year with no relief in sight...

Tender Management: Why the future is digital

Customers want to acquire freight or negotiate freight rates, so they send out a tender or RFQ to a group of forwarders or carriers who wish to participate in the process. This is straightforward and transparent. The process behind it is less visible and can be found...

New record prices for shipping containers Shanghai – Rotterdam

Prices for containers are going through the roof (and they were already so high)International container traffic is still disrupted. Containers are extremely expensive. The fact that a major Chinese port has reopened does little to change that.The cost of shipping a...

Demand for logistics procurement software is increasing dramatically in 2021

The logistics business has been in crisis for well over a year, with no signs of relief in sight as freight prices continue to increase and capacity constraints worsen. Logistics is a somewhat arcane and opaque profession to most people, but it has recently gained...

Freightender and Drewry partner to bring all-in-one ocean freight procurement

Global shipping consultancy, Drewry and Freightender are pleased to announce they have entered a value-add partnership, combining Drewry’s industry-leading ocean freight cost benchmarking and procurement support services with Freightender’s cloud-based,...

Freightender Podcast: Digitization in Logistics and Procurement

Pieter Kinds, founder and CEO of Freightender, in conversation with Martijn Graat, founder of LogisticsMatter, a leading online supply chain and logistics news platform from the Netherlands. Podcast: Digitization in Logistics and the Procurement of Freight The...

Ocean capacity crunch fuels the importance of modern logistics software

Ongoing extreme events that impact global trade and logistics keep on happening and require logistics teams to be more flexible and agile to handle chaos and the unforeseen. While strategic thinking is very much required, tactical action is key. The right partnerships...

What is managed freight procurement? What are the benefits?

What is freight or logistics procurement and is there a difference between the terms procurement, purchasing and buying? We explain why procurement is of added value to your organisation. And we take a closer look at the increasingly 'in demand' managed freight...
Let us help you!Setting up a good tender template for your freight sourcing events is not easy!

We are happy to offer you FREE & customized advice on your tender template or rate card. For Air, Ocean, LTL and FTL. If you would like to make use of our free analysis please leave your contact details and we will contact you shortly.