Logistics start-ups collaborate amongst themselves to explore possible benefits

Start-ups collaborate amongst themselves

Logistics companies are increasingly considering start-ups as partners rather than rivals, as they look to ‘digitalise’ their offerings and streamline operations. On the other side, start-ups also benefit from pairing up with well-established logistics companies, not only to gain access to new customers and increase their revenues, but also to improve awareness of their brand across the sector. For example, the British start-up ZigZag Global, managing return logistics, has recently attracted media attention for collaborating with companies such as Yamato and Maersk, to name a couple.

However, another trend is that start-ups are collaborating with one another to provide new solutions for the industry.

This is the case, for example, for two German-based start-ups, Timocom and Cargoclix. Despite both being marketplaces focussed on the logistics market in Europe, Timocom acts mostly as a freight exchange and warehouse exchange service provider that also allows tracking of goods through its Smart Logistics System. Instead, arguably Cargoclix’s most interesting service is its SLOT timeslot and yard management system, allowing the booking of a specific slot for truck drivers to benefit from a dedicated timeframe to load and unload their cargo at the warehouse of destination. This limits truck drivers’ waiting times and leads to more efficient loading times at the ramps. Notably, from November 2019, DHL in Switzerland began to use Cargoclix’s SLOT, and from September 2019, Schenker Deutschland became one of its users at the port of Rostock. In April 2019, the two companies announced a collaboration whereby Cargoclix’s users of its SLOT system can enable ETA forecasts by using Timocom’s telematics system. The purpose of the collaboration is to streamline loading and unloading operations upon arrival of the driver to the warehouse. The continuous comparison of GPS position data and booked gate delivery slots allow shippers to assess whether a carrier is on the loading ramp. If not, they can choose to deploy another carrier ahead of time, allowing for a more efficient and flexible service. As well as streamlining operations by enhancing cargo visibility, the need for time-consuming and inefficient phone calls and emails can be eliminated using a sole system.

Another example of start-ups collaborating to leverage each other’s strengths can be found in the partnership between GPS and telematics start-up KeepTruckin and Project44, a third-party logistics firm providing a visibility platform for shippers. In April 2018, the two companies announced plans to cooperate in order to increase the quality of the visibility of cargo provided to Project44’s customers. Project44 has also reportedly partnered with other start-ups, Parisian Everoad amongst others, to which it provides visibility of shipments for load management.

These examples show that there are a couple of very logical reasons why start-ups might choose to collaborate. Firstly, as in the case of Cargoclix and Timocom, leveraging one another’s strengths can add value to a service offering. Or, in the case of Project44 and KeepTruckin, data sharing can lead to an enhanced end product. Whilst sometimes difficult to achieve, these examples highlight the benefits of collaboration once the initial challenges of pairing up in the first place can be resolved.

Source: Transport Intelligence, November 12, 2019

Author: Caterina Ciccone