… unless you count its latest product enhancement: cargo.one proudly announced yesterday that shipments requiring passive temperature control can now be booked via its platform. CargoForwarder Global spoke with Laura Weritz (LW), Senior Manager Brand, Marketing & Communications, and Head of Sales, Joachim Kaupenjohann (JK), about this, the fast-paced growth over the past months and COVID-19 challenges.
CFG: cargo.one has been in the news quite a bit recently regarding positive developments, and your website shows a number of open positions available. Are you still looking for
LW: Yes! We are in the fortunate position that we are expanding and therefore need more staff to best serve our freight forwarders and airlines. In fact, we have now practically doubled our team size since the start of the year. We began building our Sales Team up towards the end of 2019, already, and it was a happy coincidence that eight people started working with us in MAR20, just at the point when COVID-19 hit and business continued to accelerate.
JK: We now have a very international Sales Team, with colleagues who cover Germany, Austria, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Nordics and Benelux, and speak the appropriate languages. The language aspect is very important to us, as it ensures closer cooperation and better service for those freight forwarders using our system across Europe.
CFG: You have seen incredible growth in customers over the past months. Where do you stand now?
JK: We recently surpassed the 1,500 mark in forwarder branches. This customer base represents a significant growth of 425% compared to last year. Growth was definitely accelerated by COVID-19, and we expect this upward trend to continue. As a message to forwarders: If you are a forwarder in Europe and book general cargo, there is no reason not to use cargo.one. It is free for forwarders and simple to sign up to. See for yourself: https://www.cargo.one/sign-up-cfg The fastest booking took 39 seconds from beginning to confirmation – see if you can beat that!
CFG: 39 seconds certainly is fast! What does that entail?
JK: The full booking process – meaning that you enter the Origin and Destination, the product, its weight and dimensions, and are then shown a list of flights on offer, along with their rates, which you can select and get immediate booking confirmation.
LW: If you have contract rates, premium rates, spots, standard rate sheets – all these are displayed, and you are always shown the best price for your routing. You can filter for example by airline, rate, number of legs or fastest route. This value proposition – that you get a live, valid rate and can immediately have your booking confirmed – this did not exist at the time cargo.one came up with its business idea in 2017. Our three founders had seen first-hand how time-consuming and bureaucratic the entire quote to booking process was, during their voluntary internships at freight forwarders in Frankfurt, and knew there and then that they would and could improve the process with a digital solution.
CFG: So live prices and full transparency over available capacities were the original trigger to build cargo.one?
LW: Yes. I believe, too, that cargo.one’s outsider perspective when it comes to the cargo industry, is a great advantage in the development of our products. We listen to what the customers want and need – and we do this either by internships or having forwarder representatives join us in our offices for discussions and product enhancement tests. I am very grateful for the close collaboration we have with our customers. We see what is possible in other industries and know how this can be adapted to the cargo industry. We look to remove all complexity from the process, so that customers can book faster, get quotes faster, and provide the best service to their shippers. I believe cargo.one is unparalleled in its simplicity.
JK: We offer personal onboarding sessions for forwarders new to the platform and show them tips such as how to use one click to copy all the relevant booking information into an email to their shippers, but really, the platform is very easy. You don’t need to be a digital native to use it. In addition to the quote and booking process, you can also cancel or update bookings when required. The system adapts the rate accordingly, too, where applicable.
LW: Another USP feature is the fact that colleagues in the same forwarder’s branch can work on and update each other’s bookings. Something that was already available prior to COVID-19, but is even more important now, due to furlough and different colleagues on different shifts. It is also something we took away as a requirement from our customers, since some forwarder branches are divided into teams that deal with quotes and those that do bookings. This team access provides the flexibility for more than one colleague to work on a single booking.
CFG: You are currently Europe-focused. Are there plans to expand further?
LW: All our developments are done in close cooperation with our customers. As stated before, we listen to the forwarders and look to simplify and standardise booking processes. Our forwarders want more airlines and more bookable products, so that is our core aim at the moment, and we are excited to be able to offer passive temperature control shipments now, in addition to general cargo bookings, as this was definitely something our forwarders were asking for. It opens the door to pharma shipments and is another step closer to our vision of all products being bookable via cargo.one in future.
JK: Of course, we are constantly exploring different opportunities to expand and are seeing high demand globally for our product. But it is our style to deliver tangible results first before we announce next steps. Rest assured, we will keep you up to date.
CFG: What challenges are forwarders experiencing with COVID-19?
JK: Talking to forwarders, one of the biggest issues was that rate sheets are no longer applicable, and you have to request every single shipment now – even those only weighing 1-2 kgs. How does so much bureaucracy enable you to make money? The booking process suddenly takes much longer, and the problem is that many companies are on furlough – both on the forwarder as well as on the airline side. So, basically you have less staff and much more work. All that spoke for cargo.one where we did everything to ensure that we offer full transparency on all available capacity. And that is why so many forwarders found their way to us during this time.
LW: The onset of COVID-19 was a chaotic situation for everyone. As a multi-airline booking platform, we were able to offer capacity throughout the entire crisis, being fortunate to work with many all-cargo airlines as well as airlines that quickly converted passenger flights into “preighters”.
JK: In the early days of the crisis, rates were changing by the hour. Through our real-time connections with the airline systems we could ensure that only live capacity and bookable rates were published. Staying true to our unique value proposition, forwarders could rely on us. We obviously had to adapt and learn to deal with the critical situation, as we would otherwise have lost customers.
In addition, our Customer Service Team is always on hand to support forwarders, in close collaboration with the airline teams and GSAs.
CFG: What are your final positive reflections on the current situation?
JK: Even during times of crisis, we have launched new airlines, introduced passive temperature control bookings, and worked with providers such as IBS. The personal highlight for me is collaborating with airlines who also make things happen!
LW: For me it is our team spirit. We had to work remotely, and during this time we onboarded a number of new colleagues. In many ways, we have grown together more than ever, and the fact that we faced these challenging times together, it has made us as a stronger as a team.
That’s a strong statement to end on! Thank you, Laura and Joachim, for your insights.
cargo.one announced on 30JUN20 that it was the first of the booking platforms to be able to offer passively cooled shipment bookings across multiple airlines – with the same live rates and real-time confirmation as is the norm for its general cargo bookings. “This development marks a critical milestone as cargo.one is the first multi-airline booking platform to offer directly bookable pharmaceutical shipments with dynamic pricing and instant confirmation,” the press release stated.
Etihad Cargo, AirBridgeCargo and Lufthansa Cargo as the initial airlines participating in the launch of “Passive Temp Control”, across all their European markets, and cargo.one customers can soon expect other airlines to follow. Passive Temp Control allows bookers to compare quotes and book passively cooled shipments such as pharmaceuticals in four different temperature ranges. Oliver Neumann, Founder & Managing Director at cargo.one, explained: “The mission of cargo.one is to make the air cargo markets more productive and thus more successful. Extending the range of commodities on the platform is an exciting next step towards fulfilling our mission. This wouldn’t have been possible without the trust of our partner airlines, who experience our performance as a key revenue stream first hand and have thus always supported our desire to innovate. The result is a uniquely simple and quick way to book passively cooled shipments.”
Fabian Kapteina from Agility Logistics in Frankfurt commented: “Our Life Science team consults the comprehensive and easy to use cargo.one platform for passively cooled shipments to get an immediate overview on possible airline offerings, supporting us to build customer-specific and tailor-made solutions.”
Fabrice Pierre Augustin Panza, Product Manager Cool Chain Solutions at Etihad Cargo stated: “Offering our TempCheck product online on cargo.one is a great way to market and sell our pharma product to new and existing customers and to create awareness for crucial product characteristics such as our CEIV certification at the time of booking”.
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.