You can feel it everywhere: The logistics sector is changing. Whether it is artificial intelligence or machine learning – digitalization is showing no signs of slowing down, including in the freight forwarding industry. And the industry seems to need it more than ever.
Many processes are still done manually instead of using the many advantages of digitalization. In a nutshell: Excel tables and emails rather than elegant digital solutions. In the future this will eventually come to an end. Ever more investors are putting their trust in innovative platforms such as SHIPSTA and FreightHub. These two start-ups introduced their very individual concepts in the BVL webinar “Live benchmark: New era in the freight transport industry? Digital forwarding companies and platforms under the microscope. FreightHub vs. SHIPSTA”.
“ The Amazon effect hits the logistics sector! “
Christian Wilhelm, CEO | Founder of SHIPSTA
Christian Wilhelm, CEO and founder of SHIPSTA, and Fabian Struck, Vice President Growth and Key Account Dr. Fabian Struck of FreightHub, introduced their concepts and different solution approaches. Chaired by Nikolai Posanok from the BVL logistics network.
Yesterday’s logistics: 99 percent of business processed offline
Christian emphasises the extent to which digitalisation in logistics lags behind the “biggest global ecosystem”: Only one percent of worldwide freight volume is currently purchased online – although at least the trend is rising. Here too, Wilhelm speaks of the “Amazon effect” that is increasingly spreading within the logistics industry. This he uses to describe the mentality of customers always wanting to receive their goods anywhere, in an instant – rather today than tomorrow.
SHIPSTA has positioned itself here as a pure technology company specialising in software for the logistics industry, developing the first virtual procurement manager. This means: shipper and carrier are put in touch with one another on SHIPSTA so that digital purchase of freight volumes including results of the tenders is possible in a matter of seconds.
By contrast, FreightHub sees itself as a traditional digital freight forwarder or, to put it simply, as the first digital full-service carrier. FreightHub wants to interconnect the entire supply chain in global transport online, thereby offering customers or freight forwarders simple and reliable processing of the consignment – with the help of intelligent algorithms, but also its own logistics experts who can be contacted personally.
Comparing the two concepts: Questions and answers
What actually makes the two companies special? Christian from SHIPSTA emphasises how important it is that customers go online in the first place – independent of which platform they ultimately decide to use. To ensure that there is no media disruption, it’s important to guarantee that customers can stay in the digital system and don’t have to fall back on Excel tables. Fabian agrees with Christian and stresses how urgently digitalisation is needed and that there’s now no going back.
Regarding the question of how Christian and Fabian see the logistics market developing in the future, more than anything Christian wants SHIPSTA to become a fully autonomous system that can purchase the logistics requirements of a company and points to new pilot projects that SHIPSTA wants to set up with several large forwarders. Fabian is looking forward to the “exciting phase of the coming years” that the logistics ecosystem as a whole will help to shape.
Big ideas for big challenges – the freight forwarding industry finding its way
Bottom line: whether it’s a digital freight forwarder with a full-service solution or SHIPSTA with a platform on which supplier and carriers can meet, the webinar was able to vividly demonstrate the major influence digitalisation has already had on the freight forwarding industry, and will continue to have in the future – and that the market can only profit if young companies put different ideas into practice to make one of the most significant industries in the world fit for the future.
SHIPSTA powers smart logistics procurement with a digital platform that connects shippers and carriers to ensure a frictionless procurement process for spot and contract buying, entirely online. It automates complex tasks, provides unrivalled visibility and supports fast data-driven decision-making. Designed and built by experts in logistics procurement, it is bringing transparency, automation and efficiency to the global logistics industry. It is used by some of the world’s largest companies to respond to market volatility, control freight costs and manage risk. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Mertert, Luxembourg and Hamburg, Germany.