Fastway Couriers wins International Franchisor of the Year

Fastway Couriers has won the International Franchisor of the Year Award for the second time in three years, in recognition of its Blu Couriers and Parcel Connect innovations.
Parcel Connect taps into the business hours of local stores and petrol stations to provide a close and convenient drop off and collection point for both customers and Fastway’s franchisees, while the Blu Couriers platform supports Fastway’s franchisees by providing with an on-demand, trained workforce to meet forecast and unexpected spikes in deliveries.
“With three in every four Australians shopping online, and given our business’ rapid transition from B2B to B2C, Fastway Couriers is continually looking for ways to best meet the needs of our franchisees and their customers,” said Peter Lipinski, CEO, Fastway Couriers Australia.
“We’ve transformed our thinking here at Fastway as we continue to evolve in order to help our regional franchisees and 1,000 courier franchisees capture more of the e-commerce market and better manage the growing volume of deliveries while also growing their business.”
The company also attributed its success in part to international courier company Aramex, which purchased Fastway Couriers in January 2016, providing the business and its franchisees with access to research, resources and expertise.
“It’s an extremely exciting time to be involved in delivery logistics with technology advances rewriting the rules and that’s a huge opportunity for us and for our franchisees,” said Peter. “That appetite for online shopping is great news for our franchisees with the volume of parcels growing at an extraordinary rate and, in line with the new way of shopping, we will continue to reinvent the way we do business.”

Bumper acquisition week for WiseTech Global

Sydney-based logistics software provider WiseTech Global has recently made three major acquisitions, bringing Australasian land transport solution provider CMT Transport Solutions, Australasian specialist tariff compliance solutions provider Digerati and Taiwanese forwarding and customs solutions provider Prolink under its umbrella.
CMS provides its flagship Transport Management System (TMS), Freight 2020, to over 130 corporations including ABC Transport, SRT Logistics, McColls Transport, Richers Transport, Cahill Transport, Secon Freight Logistics, K&S Group, Greyhound Freight, John L Pierce Transport and many large road and freight transport houses in Australia and New Zealand.
WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White, said: “WiseTech Global has been investing research and development resources into machine learning, natural language processing, robotic process automation and guided decision tools. We will be working with the talented CMS team and our customers as we progress our Land Transport and integrated Telematics development pipeline for the next generation of road and freight solutions.”
CMS Managing Director, Robert Mullins, said: “Joining WiseTech, the market leader with scale and capacity to accelerate innovation, allows us to combine our vision and deliver on a product roadmap utilising CMS’s decades of road freight industry knowledge.”
Remaining under the leadership of Managing Director, Robert Mullins, and General Manager, Grant Walmsley, CMS operations will be integrated within the WiseTech Global group.
Digerati provides its Inbound, Outbound, TradeWiseNZ and iClear Online compliance solutions to over 140 corporations including DHL, Expeditors, FedEx, Panalpina, Schenker, UPS, Yusen and many of the largest brokerage and logistics houses in Australia and New Zealand.
WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White, said: “We will be utilising the Digerati data set and customer experiences in our development pipeline for the next generation of border compliance, aimed at substantially increasing timely, accurate and complete customs entries for our customers, to better manage the exponential increase in transactions at the border.
“With the advent of global border initiatives such as Trade Single Window, Trusted Trader, Known Shipper, C-TPAT, AEO and Supply Chain Security and an ever-increasing critical need to secure borders and ensure that international trade is both safe and efficient, the work we are doing is vital to the next generation of cross-border compliance.”
Prolink provides its automated customs compliance and forwarding solutions to over 350 corporations including DHL, UPS, Yamato, Morrison, Hellmann, Hankyu Hanshin, Dolphin, Evergreen, Pacific Star, THi, Leader-mutual, OEC and many of the largest logistics service providers in Taiwan and China.
WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White, said “Given Prolink’s leading position in customs and forwarding solutions across Taiwan and their successful expansion into China and Hong Kong, we are pleased to welcome the Prolink team to the growing WiseTech Global family. Acquiring Prolink’s competitive leadership, market knowledge and cross-border compliance expertise in Taiwan and China gives us additional regional strength to accelerate our growth throughout Asia.”
Remaining under the leadership of President, Paul Lin, and General Manager, Glendy Kuan, Prolink operations will be integrated within the WiseTech Global group.
 
 

UC Logistics launches compliance app for freight operators

Perth-based UC Logistics has launched a new transport platform to enable heavy-haulage providers to meet Australia’s strict compliance standards.
The online business-to-business platform, iFR8, allows clients to receive and compare quotes and book freight movements with ‘premium’ Australian transport providers, and gives drivers constant reminders of their Chain of Responsibility obligations.
Urszula Kelly, Founder and Managing Director, UC Logistics, said the company launched the transport platform after hearing concerns that those already in the marketplace had been launched by companies taking no responsibility for ensuring their service providers, putting their goods at risk of loss, damage or delay by operators unaware of their legal obligations when receiving and transporting goods.
Kelly said several companies contacted UC Logistics Australia about their worries, asking them to come on board with their apps.
“When we asked how they ensure their providers comply with the law, they didn’t have an answer,” she said. “This prompted us to develop our own platform – iFR8, which is distinctly different from the others.
“We engage only premium quality heavy haulage providers who are accredited, adequately insured, qualified and extensively experienced in their field.
“We take safety and compliance very seriously and spend a significant amount of time on screening operators that want to work with us.”
The platform offers one contact point for all logistics requirements, regardless of whether the job takes one provider or many, so clients no longer need to speak to numerous suppliers to manage multiple quotes and jobs.
In addition, it provides a digital paper trail of all freight movements through a web portal and mobile app.
Kelly noted that some of the smallest companies provide the best service at the best rates, adding that iFR8 allows them to compete on a level playing field.
“iFR8 offers equal opportunity for all providers – regardless of how small their fleet,” she said.
“We welcome collaborations with suppliers of the highest quality, who meet our strict prequalification requirements and who have a proven record of providing ‘beyond expectations’ customer service.
“There are many ‘wannabe’ transport businesses out there at the minute, this is why it makes perfect sense to promote suppliers that are passionate about the safety and passionate about the transport industry in general – we are excited about collaborating with them.”

New Port Botany app to ease congestion

An innovative piece of mobile technology is set to make freight movements in and out of Port Botany easier to plan and more efficient.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said that over 3,000 containers move in and out of Port Botany each week day by road, and new technology would help ease congestion.
“Until now, Port Botany performance and status information was only available on a closed system account to a limited number of stevedores and road carriers,” said Pavey.
“Through the new app, live data will be freely available and will allow industry stakeholders to see what’s happening in the port precinct.
“It will also focus on real-time truck turnaround and performance data in order to enable better freight planning into and around Port Botany.”
Free to download and available on iOS and Android, the Port Botany Performance App makes live cargo movement data for Port Botany available to trucking companies, stevedores and other port users.
The app was built on the New South Wales Government’s Cargo Movement Coordination Centre’s (CMCC) IT platform.
Pavey said users will be able to use the app to better plan and optimise arrival times for trucks and reduce heavy vehicle queues entering the port.
“Not only will this allow Port Botany to operate more efficiently, it will reduce the impacts of road freight movements and ease congestion around the precinct,” she said.
The CMCC is already improving efficiency by using a range of technology to capture real-time freight movements, including a network of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) readers within Port Botany.
“Through a combination of technology and working collaborative with Port Botany users, truck turnaround times have been cut by more than 17 per cent in the last four years and rail mode share is at a record 19 per cent.
“The port contributes $3.2 billion to gross state product each year. We have to make sure we are working alongside industry leaders and stakeholders to keep up with a thriving industry.”

NZ and China expansion for FreightExchange

Sydney company FreightExchange is looking to take its online freight capacity marketplace overseas, with support from the NSW Government.
John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Small Business and Skills, said the company, which received a $98,000 Building Partnerships Grant from the private sector–led, NSW government–backed ‘Jobs for NSW’ program, had grown 587 per cent in 2015/16, with revenue of more than $1 million and over 800 carriers and 1,700 shippers on its books.
“FreightExchange is a great example of a clever company developing technology to make NSW more efficient while creating jobs and growing the economy,” said Barilaro.
“Former management consultant and FreightExchange founder and CEO Cate Hull saw the massive amount of under-utilised capacity of trucks on Australian roads and she knew she was on to something.
“This smart online platform uses GPS tracking to take advantage of unused capacity on long-haul freight by connecting shippers with carriers and allowing them to instantly book their freight, get a price and get it moving.
“The company, which now has 12 staff and focuses on long-haul trucking, has developed apps which allow companies big and small to plug directly into the system to match unused capacity with freight orders instantly.
“After building the company from scratch, Cate is now hoping to take the company global, with a pilot set for New Zealand this month and plans to expand to Shenzhen, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Barilaro added.
Hull said the Jobs for NSW Building Partnerships grant had been a huge help in growing the business.
“To big businesses it might sound like a small amount but to us it was significant,” she said.
“We used the Jobs for NSW grant to build the product, but also to deal with the growing pains of a small company – the team has close to doubled in the past year.
“The more we can drive efficiency the better it is for NSW. The dream is to create a platform that in future orchestrates self-driving trucks and automates the buying of selling and freight capacity internationally – a global platform,” Hull said.

Shippit turns down $5M funding boost

Sydney-based logistics and shipping business Shippit has rejected a $5 million investment offer in its Series A funding round, instead accepting $2.2 million to fund in order to drive its growth and Asia-Pacific expansion.
250,000 parcels are delivered via Shippit’s platform each month, and many of the company’s 750 clients are major retailers, including Harvey Norman, Sephora, Topshop, Thankyou and Pet Circle.
Shippit’s Series A funding round attracted strong investor interest due in part to the company’s announcement of significant growth of its subscriber base and a 200 per cent increase in monthly profits.
“During the raising process, Shippit’s user base grew ahead of our projections which reduced our capital requirement and prompted us to review our growth ambitions,” said co-CEO Rob Hango-Zada.
Hango-Zada and his co-CEO William On decided to reject the $5 million investment secured through the funding round, having calculated that the growth push would cost around $2 million.
“We’ve always been fiscally responsible, however when we reconsidered the amount that was required to fuel our next phase of growth, the figure was actually much closer to [$2.2 million],” Hango-Zada added.
“We received a humbling flurry of interest, however, we didn’t think it would be wise to accept more capital than we actually required. The purpose of this raise was specifically to obtain growth capital to invest in strategic hires, building out the local team, as well as supporting rapid expansion into international markets.”
Lead investor Aura Group, a well-established venture fund, has experience dealing in the APAC market, which will benefit Shippit as it makes its bid for the market.
“Shippit stood out to us because of the scalability of its platform and its alignment to the global opportunity being driven by the transition of retail into e-commerce,” said Eric Chan, Managing Director, Aura Group.
“The predominant reason we invested, however, was because we believe Shippit has the right founders to execute on a well-considered strategy and vision.”

Emergency communication capability added to RapidAlert app

Soprano Design’s cloud-based Mobile Enterprise Messaging Suite (MEMS) platform has added a new business continuity app that enables logistics companies to provide real-time communications during threats and monitors their safety
Soprano RapidAlert – a crisis management tool and one of nine business app plug-ins for the MEMS platform – allows organisations to manage business continuity by deploying SMS alerts within seconds to incident first responders and standby teams.
Soprano CEO Horden Wiltshire said the development of RapidAlert was in response to market demand at a time where there is an increased likelihood of extreme events relating to natural disasters, the environment, civil unrest and cyber security.
“The ubiquity of text messaging means that messages will reached all those that need to be informed immediately and accurately, and can track whether they have responded to an alert on time,” Wiltshire said.
“Our crisis management system increases organisation’s agility and responsiveness during and after an extreme event, quickly reaching employees to help reduce the severity impact on damage to reputation, revenue and customer relationships.
“The inability of an organisation to quickly respond during incidents or disruptions directly correlates to increasing costs and damages.”
The RapidAlert solution’s key features include quick access to Business Continuity Plan (BCP) templates & contact lists, SMS delivery for rapid response, real-time acknowledgement and follow-up and real-time reporting to enable live monitoring of who has and has not responded.

DB Schenker buys $33m stake in freight-matching company uShip

Global logistics company DB Schenker has taken a US$25 million ($33 million) stake in US-based uShip, which uses online technology to match freight shippers and carriers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Schenker is reportedly pressing a “digital transformation of its business model,” and has taken a seat on uShip’s board.
Schenker previously signed a five-year agreement for collaboration in Europe in mid-2016.
Although easily compared to Uber’s supply-demand arrangement, uShip’s freight-matching platform has been around for 14 years and is currently in operation in at least 19 countries. uShip claims that its shipping marketplace has handled more than one million shipments.
Uber-style freight-matching apps have been en vogue of late, including an as-yet-unnamed Chinese app currently undergoing testing, the partly launched Uber Freight and a contender Amazon is reportedly developing.

Swings and roundabouts in the logistics industry

Volatile yet potentially very profitable, the logistics industry is full of opportunities to seize, and threats to overcome. Here are some of the current trends to consider and the challenges that port operators face in their quest to become more efficient.
The lay of the land
Consolidation via mergers and acquisitions appears to be the new normal, at least within the shipping line sector as the industry reacts and adjusts to overcapacity and a drop in trade. However, it will not be too long before we witness similar trends in the port sector who are struggling to remain efficient. New modalities such as rail and road and trade routes are emerging and currently being explored for long-haul cross-continental trading.
Rapidly developing economies in the Asian region, together with the prospect of free trade agreements in key markets, are driving strong growth in the global container shipping industry. As a result, port operators of all sizes are on the hunt for ways to improve efficiencies and lower costs.
The much-publicised increase of larger vessels has changed the economies of scale for shipping operators and offers new alternatives for manufacturers keen to boost their distribution capacity.
Such increases in capacity also bring challenges for port operators. For the largest ports, loading and unloading must be completed as quickly and effectively as possible. Even relatively minor delays in turning such large ships around can have significant knock-on effects further along the supply chain.
There are flow-on effects for smaller ports too. Vessels that have been displaced from the largest facilities by the new mega ships are then redirected onto routes that they traditionally have not served. This means smaller ports now have to deal with much larger ships than was previously the case. In turn, this puts pressure on everything from loading equipment to control systems.
The challenge for operators
To meet these challenges, smaller port operators must also find ways to make their facilities more efficient. Traditional methods must be examined and new approaches introduced. Any failure to take these steps will inevitably result in rising operational costs and an inability to compete with more nimble competitors.
There are a range of areas in which port operators can find efficiencies, including:
Ship movement planning: Effective scheduling of vessels can ensure the port maintains a constant level of operation, rather than oscillating from quiet periods to times of frenetic activity.
Such planning will also aid the shipping companies themselves as they will be able to forward plan arrivals and departures much more accurately. The last thing a firm wants is for its freight vessels to have to anchor nearby and wait for a berth to become available.
Labour management: Some industry estimates put the cost of labour at between 40 and 60 per cent of total port operational expenses. This means careful attention must be given at all times to how it is deployed.
Operators cannot afford to have staff rostered on when there are no ships in dock, but at the same time must ensure they are available as soon as loads need to be handled.
They also need the ability to change rosters quickly if ship movements are altered. Adverse weather conditions and delays at other ports can mean ships arrive much earlier or later than planned. Port operators need to have the mechanisms in place to alert staff and ensure they are available when required.
Warehouse management: Many port operators have traditionally relied on paper-based systems or spreadsheets to track the movement of goods into and out of their facilities. While this may have worked in the past, as volumes increase they cannot be scaled to match demands.
Instead operators need to deploy electronic cargo management tools designed specifically for the shipping and logistics sector. These tools can readily handle everything from whole container movements to break-bulk shipments.
Accessed either via traditional PCs or the growing range of wireless mobile devices, the tools can significantly streamline the flow of goods through the facility. Ship turnaround times can be reduced and bottom-line profits increased.
Reporting: Having a real-time view of what is happening within every port is critical. Vessel arrivals and departures, staffing rosters and freight movements all need to be constantly monitored to ensure that any issues can be solved before they have a significant impact on operations.
Real-time reporting tools need to be linked to systems throughout the facility, ensuring they can access data and provide port operators with a clear view of exactly what is going on at all times.
Invoicing: At the end of the day, port operators of all sizes need to generate profits. Having an efficient invoicing and client management system in place is therefore critical to ensure revenue is received as swiftly as possible.
Invoicing needs to be tightly integrated with the cargo management tools to ensure all billable activities and resources are captured and prevent revenue leakage.
An effective invoicing and financial system will also remove many of the manual processes that may exist, freeing up staff to focus on more value-adding business activities.
By focusing on these key areas, large port operators will be able to meet the demands created by new massive ships while their smaller counterparts will also be well placed to deal with the changes this means for them.
Overall, shifting from manual, paper-based workflows to digital tools will drive efficiency and boost customer service levels.
Information and communications technology (ICT) solution providers face unprecedented challenges and opportunities in the maritime logistics space and these are not just simply about ‘automation’ or even ‘digitisation’ – the latest buzz.
The growing democratisation in ICT calls for a rapid paradigm shift in the way ICT is produced, delivered and consumed in our industry.
In the near future, innovations will be largely driven on the basis of a shared economy. It will be a more distributed, trusted, shared and hence more innovative environment”.
Written by Kaustubh Dalvi, President Global Sales at Jade Software.

‘Uber of Trucking’ Convoy hires former Uber engineering chief

Startup Convoy, which matches trucking companies with shippers via an app, is often compared with ride-sharing app Uber. Now that Uber’s former chief of software engineering, Tim Prout, has been brought into Convoy’s team, the similarities in the inner workings of their systems are bound to become even more alike.
Convoy co-founder and CTO Grant Goodale revealed the acquisition to news site GeekWire’s John Cook. “Tim founded Uber’s Seattle engineering office and drove growth from zero to 150+ people in 18 months, and we’re excited for him to help us take on extreme growth at Convoy as well,” Goodale said. “Tim saw an opportunity to build the world’s best engineering team headquartered here in Seattle, tackling an enormous $800 billion opportunity with potential global impact.”
During an interview with GeekWire last year, Dan Lewis, CEO at Convoy, acknowledged the parallels between the two transport apps. “The biggest parallel, I think, is that Uber made it lower cost and higher service levels by using technology,” he said. “I think that, when we think about this business, that is the most important thing we can do. We can actually increase the service levels. We can make it easier for truckers to get more work. We can make it easier for shippers to have trucks on short notice, and know where their trucks are, which is something they don’t usually know today. We can actually offer those better levels of service for a lower price. That’s what Uber did.
“The other thing is — a big difference, I would say — is that Uber had to essentially go out there and build all their capacity. They had to go get people to drive cars. They had to set up this whole system that didn’t really exist before. One of the things that’s really nice, in our world, is that we’re working with existing trucking companies. These guys are already out there running two or three trucks, trying to grow their business, and they’re looking for work. We can sign up a lot of these entrepreneurs and get them more work without having to sort of go build that from scratch.”

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