Why Freight Audit Is Becoming Increasingly Important in the APAC Region

While freight audit and payment services are in high demand in North America, fewer businesses operating in the Asia-Pacific region audit their freight invoices—and it’s easy to see why. Since the markets in this region are far from harmonious, with wildly different tax and billing regulations from one country to the next, implementing consistent, scalable freight audit processes can be difficult.

Despite the complexity, freight auditing is an essential step that all companies should take, regardless of where they’re located or how much freight they ship. Here are some things shippers in APAC should consider to avoid leaving money on the table—and valuable insights untapped.

Why does freight audit matter in APAC?

At its core, freight audit is about improving billing accuracy. That means that one of the key benefits of auditing is recouping costs.

Since all global carriers have some margin of error, it doesn’t matter where a shipper is located—some of their freight bills will be wrong. Tariff discounts are missed. The value-added tax (VAT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) is improperly calculated. Companies are overcharged, and without a reliable system in place to check each invoice against the bill of lading and rectify any discrepancies, their bottom line suffers. Plus, due to the ever-changing landscape of tax and regulatory requirements in the region, small mistakes can lead to costly repercussions.

We’ve found that on average, companies around the world can recover 2-5% of their freight costs through auditing. That might not sound like a lot if only one or two bills are incorrect—but when you multiply it by the hundreds or even thousands of freight bill errors that would otherwise slip through the net year after year, the savings can be significant.

Manually auditing freight bills is not the answer, though, as this solution is extremely difficult to scale. By building automation into their processes or relying on an outsourced freight audit and payment provider, shippers in APAC and other regions can streamline the auditing process and boost efficiency, resulting in further savings of around 3-5%.

How can shippers in APAC improve visibility with freight audit?

Another core benefit of freight auditing is the shipment-level visibility it provides. For global shippers, it can be especially challenging to gain visibility in APAC due to the lack of logistics standardization in the region. Carriers may submit invoices in many different formats, numerous currencies may be reflected, and postal codes can vary in length, making it difficult to standardize large data sets and extract actionable insights.

But these challenges should not deter shippers from scrutinizing the data from their APAC facilities—which may shine a light on countless opportunities to optimize processes in the region, reduce costs, improve forecasting, and more.

And this is not only true at the level of individual facilities. By gaining a bird’s-eye view of their operations across APAC, companies can make better, more strategic decisions in the region—like determining which local carriers to prioritize and where the best opportunities for expansion lie.

How can APAC shippers implement freight audit at scale?

Outsourcing freight audit needs to a trusted provider can reduce the burden of standardizing and analyzing vast amounts of highly varied data. But given the complexities inherent to shipping in APAC, working with consultants that have a deep understanding of the region’s nuances is essential.

A provider that is only truly familiar with the North American market will struggle to cater to the specialized needs of shippers in APAC. Instead, look for providers that offer boots-on-the-ground support in the region.

This will not only give the provider hands-on experience navigating APAC’s complex tax and regulatory requirements, allowing them to develop rich expertise but ensures that help will be available in the shipper’s local timezone. Time differences between the U.S. and countries in the APAC region can be vast—between Singapore and California, for example, there’s a 16-hour divide—so the ability to access timely support and guidance is critical.

A global provider with local insight

Freight auditing is complex everywhere, but especially in the APAC region. At CTSI-Global, we don’t downplay that complexity—we rise to the challenge.

We have company-owned-and-operated facilities all around the world, including in the APAC region. Our APAC operations are headquartered in Singapore, ensuring we’re on hand to provide nuanced local support whenever our clients need us. And with decades of experience auditing global freight, we’re proud to help our APAC clients ensure they’re adhering to local regulatory and tax requirements—while putting money back in the bottom line.

Unlock the benefits of regular freight auditing. Contact us today.

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