I hope you’re sitting down, because I’ve got a bombshell to drop on you that you may well not believe.
That is, it’s still common practice to use pen, paper and a fax machine in our trillion dollar global transportation industry. Yes, in 2018 companies are still sending documents to each other via a phone line.
To the cliched millennial reading this in between bites of avocado on toast and sipping a pumpkin latte, this news may well have just made you drop your fork. I’m sorry if so. But just because that’s still the case, it’s not to say that companies aren’t trying to catch up and integrate tech into their processes. In fact, lots of the ‘old guard’ of logistics companies are trying to catch up by bolting on digital solutions to their existing offering to kind of solve the problem in a 1988/2018 hybrid.
Enter the disruptors. This has created a huge gap in the market for companies built from the ground up in the digital age.
Below are 5 companies that are doing just that. In my opinion, these are all businesses you’ll hear more and more about in the coming years. Their focus on solution and product development, carrier partnerships and new, bespoke platforms to enrich shipping is sure to be echoed by the whole industry.
That means that the trends these disruptors set will likely be followed up by the giant corporations that are household names today. They’ll likely be using their significant buying power and giant budgets to build R&D teams to create, match and potentially overtake these companies in the future.
But for now, here are the disruptors I’m most excited about in the global transportation market.
Cargo One are focused on digitizing the air freight industry. They’ve created an innovative online booking platform which provides live rates, guaranteed capacity and instant confirmation linking customers and freight forwarders.
Think Skyscanner for air freight – their technology promises to save businesses thousands of hours every year through allowing customers to search through, refine and book with a freight provider in under 2 minutes.
Twill offer a digital, end-to-end shipping solution for SMEs to transport their goods around the world. They’re a multi-carrier freight forwarder that have created a platform in which businesses can book, manage and monitor their shipments at the click of a button.
With a constantly expanding global network, they’re presenting a polished and digitally focused face on a service that has historically been difficult to access for the first time.
A relatively established player, having been established in 2013, Flexport are a full-service are and ocean freight forwarder. They have combined a simple, transparent pricing strategy with an easy-to-use online platform and real time tracking to create a sophisticated and modern freight forwarding business.
They’re expanding rapidly too, having raised over $300M of funding over 5 rounds in recent years, including over $100M in 2018 from SF Express, a leading Chinese courier.
Whether you want the fastest, cheapest or first-to-arrive provider, Zencargo can help. They combine the latest tech with industry experts to offer a smooth, intelligent way in which to help with companies’ supply chain decisions.
With offices in the UK, Geneva and Hong Kong, Zencargo are now set to offer a truly global service for sea, air and rail freight.
Freightos’ product has already enjoyed a lot of success in the industry, having very recently announced their pilot agreement with CMA CGM. This now means that, through Freightos’ SaaS platform, smaller shippers now have direct access to a major carrier with competitive pricing.
Freightos will be hoping to partner with more leading logistics providers to help automate their internal processes, increasing efficiency and guiding strategic business decisions through the data they collect.
Are companies like these dragging the industry into the 21st century? Is there anyone you think should be included in this list? Let me know in the comments below!