Trucks are indispensable helpers when it comes to transporting and distributing goods. But remarkable portions of the transport capacity offered by trucking companies in Europe remain
unused, data prove.
An economic scandal but also an opportunity to develop a market-ready solution for utilizing the free space, said Cargonexx CEO Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz.
No sooner said than done: In 2016 he founded the Hamburg, Germany-based startup Cargonexx. Meanwhile, the company has developed into one of Europe’s fastest growing transport enablers and capacity managers.
Nearly 40 percent of truck beds marketed by an EU-registered capacity provider are filled with nothing but air – on average and day after day! An enormous and very costly waste of resources,
detrimental to the environment.
However, what’s been a constant nuisance for the operators has triggered Lafrenz and his team to develop a smart business case, aimed at organizing a much more intelligent road transport system and earning money at the same time.
How? By introducing a newly invented and self-learning algorithm, able to instantly synchronize the demand for overland transports with available truck capacity.
All it needs is the electronic transmission of route data, what products a shipment consists of and how the loads are packed.
That’s how it all began.
Meanwhile, the second step was taken: “In addition to standard cargo we broadened our portfolio, offering on top the transport of temperature sensitives goods,” announces Timo Altstadt, Head of Sales at Cargonexx.
Technically sophisticated but easy to handle
But no matter which goods are involved, the entire process is not rocket science: Customers display the specifics of a desired transport request online and Cargonexx’s algorithm determines within seconds the most suitable capacity offer in the market, provided the suppliers are registered on the company’s platform. This includes identifying attractive spot market prices within seconds for requested transports and tours, lead times and other specs. At the end, it only needs a final click and the deal is done without much effort and paperwork.
Widening its reach
This “one-click trucking” scheme, as they call it at Cargonexx, has become one of the hottest topics currently discussed within the European logistics industry. Therefore, it can be assumed that their scheme will continue being in the headlines in 2019 and beyond.
A convincing indicator is the fast-growing number of participating companies that have registered, offering capacity or requesting transports, but also the rapid geographical expansion of Cargonexx. “As of today, 7,000-plus forwarding agents and trucking companies are listed on our electronic platform, benefitting from smart transport solutions induced by artificial intelligence,” explains Herr Altstadt.
In total, these providers in combination with a vast number of sub-agents operate more than 80,000 trucks within the EU. Provided that 40 percent of the fleet’s capacity is empty, as surveys suggest, the marketing potential the online forwarder can capitalize on is almost unlimited.
From online agent to practical forwarder
Although still being a newcomer, “we managed through our self-learning algorithm to reduce empty runs within our network by 20 percent,” reasons Mr. Altstadt. That’s an astounding result considering the short time the company is in business.
The manager further says that Cargonexx has expanded its reach lately, integrating five European countries into its network: Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, and the Baltic states. Next, Spain and France are targeted.
And another news he presents: “We started leasing 25 heavy-duty vehicles, each capable of loading 40 tons. These trucks we operate on intra-European long-haul routes.”
More are to follow, he indicates.
Just as a reminder, a year and a half ago, Cargonexx stepped into business by managing trucking capacity as an online forwarder. Lately however, the company begun operating vehicles on its own account.
Welcome in the real world of freight forwarding!