Freightos: The online freight marketplace

Booking a rental car? Takes only a few minutes online. Compare the prices of electrical appliances or buy fashion items? Everything goes smoothly and quickly on the Internet. Rate comparisons and bookings have only been a tedious and time-consuming task in the transport business – especially when it comes to the first and last mile of door-to-door deliveries. Founded in 2012, the start-up Freightos now wants to bring more speed and convenience into global logistics with its comparison portal.

“Freightos makes freight shipments as easy to book as a hotel room.”

Dr. Philip von Mecklenburg-Blumenthal

Israeli-British entrepreneur, Zvi Schreiber, who has already successfully launched several innovative start-ups, was apparently tired of the outdated and lengthy logistics processes involved in shipping goods between Europe, the US and China. It used to take several days to merely obtain price quotes for shipping. Based on this experience, Schreiber developed the concept of a platform that allows freight forwarders to offer their services and shippers to conveniently book and pay for these services online. This business idea laid the foundation for the company Freightos: “We aim to become something like Expedia for the freight business,” said Schreiber, outlining his objective at the time.

Price comparison even for door-to-door shipments

Today, Freightos provides more than two million current price points from over 80 logistics service providers on its “Marketplace”. Free of charge. It takes only a few seconds to calculate the best price and service offer for the desired route – including for door-to-door shipments involving several transport companies. For the customer, a single forwarding agent is the responsible contact person. The advantages for shippers are obvious: You get complete door-to-door rates with customs and insurance fees, and you can then compare them, book directly and upload the required documents. Booking thus takes only a few minutes instead of several days. Ratings and reviews help you decide on an offer.

Millennials prefer online orders

All freight companies that want to be listed on the Freightos Marketplace are subject to strict quality guidelines: “We carry out an audit with every logistics service provider that checks both quality and internal processes. Nobody benefits if the shipper obtains a rate in seconds, but it then takes several days to book with the carrier,” explained Philip von Mecklenburg-Blumenthal, Senior Director Marketplace at Freightos and Speaker at the Frankfurt Air Cargo Innovation Lab 2017. “We want to ensure that shippers can immediately receive the confirmation from the carrier and pick up the freight documents on site. It should also be possible to closely track all shipments. This is usually only guaranteed today while the cargo is underway.”

Even though many logistics companies continue to rely on Excel spreadsheets when calculating offers and send paper freight documents, the eventual triumph of online freight booking appears to be unstoppable. “50 percent of the decision-makers will be millennials by 2020,” predicts Mecklenburg-Blumenthal. “This group is used to placing orders online. Some freight forwarders have already realized that they are not reaching this customer group with their current approach of selling transport capacity. Participating in the Freightos Marketplace is an easy way to offer rates without your own online portal.”

Text by Bernd Maresch
Screenshot and photo: Freightos