Freightabase is an online digital platform for sourcing specialist carriers to/from any part of the globe. You can source all carrier types, ranging from airlines, shipping lines, freight forwarders and parcel carriers. At Freightabase, we understand that consumers’ needs are changing, and with the constant time constraints freight buyers need to make educated decisions quickly. The whole idea of a shipping manager being able to source information to make a well-informed decision is exciting.
Freightabase allows the exporter or importer to either fill out a very simple quote form that the customer services team will action, or search on the loading list or Directory. The loading list allows you to find a carrier that specialises in a specific shipping route. The Directory allows you to search by town or keywords.
Tell us about how Freightabase developed.
Freightabase has always been something I have felt passionate about. I was working on a similar project called ‘Freight Pages’ back when I owned my forwarding business 20 years ago. I have been waiting for the right time for the industry to be ready for this product. Having seen what Amazon has done to retail, it is clear that now is the right time, and internet users are ready.
What will Freightabase offer that will set you apart from your competitors?
Freightabase is free to use with no money or mark-up on shipments. We will make our return on advertising as opposed to per shipment. This will make it far more appealing to the user and it won’t be price-led as other digital platforms. I want my advertisers to be able to sell on value, not compete on price.
There are so many things a freight buyer needs to consider when selecting a carrier. I want to encourage quality users who want to make educated buying decisions, based on factors such as: locations, overseas agents/partners, vertical markets and mode of transport. I have worked in the freight industry since I was 16. The last thing I will ever want to do is undervalue it! So, my aim is simple: professional shippers looking for professional carriers. Dutch auction dissatisfaction is not sustainable, as we are not selling car insurance. So, whilst I agree completive pricing is important, the per shipment price is by far not the whole picture. What value can a courier add? What specialisms do they have? In summary, we refuse to be as price-led as other digital platforms.
How does Freightabase work?
The platform is very easy to use, broken down into the following sections:
1. Quick Quote
simply complete, and customer services will run a search for you.
2. Loading list
Find a specialist carrier to/from any collection/delivery point. Select one of the multiple carriers and search enquiry.
Key search word by name, town or speciality. Also covers services to industry
We also have a live-help function online and a telephone number for the customer services team. Naturally, due to the volume of enquiries the service generates, we have made it simple to use.
How do you think Freightabase will impact the freight industry?
I think that Freightabase has been a long time coming. The industry is crying out for a neutral online resource. The visionary carriers will jump on very quickly with the others joining shortly afterwards. Overall, I think Freightabase will have a positive impact on the sector providing a heathy flow of warm sales leads for its supporters.
How will consumers of Freightabase be able to access the platform? (E.g. online, apps etc.)
Yes, the website is live now, and It went for internal trials on September 10th. The existing site is mobile friendly with very prompt access to the quick quote form. We have plans to launch an app early part of next year for increase global usage and convenience.
What is your biggest achievement through the making of Freightabase?
To be honest, I am amazed at the high level of support we are getting already. We have some big names already looking to support the site, such as DSV, Emirates Air Cargo, Turkish Airlines and Pallex, all backed up with a very string global list of SME carriers. Over 200 carriers were listed on the site on the day of the launch. For me, that shows its potential.
How did you overcome your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is simple: clients won’t commit until they know it works. To be fair, neither would I! So the solution was to charge carriers to be listed either under the countries they ship to, or the services the offer. We offered our clients a month completely free of charge. The challenge, with any marketing, is getting clients to commit and allocate enough budget to allow us to get the product to work. The solution was keeping the pricing very simple and being able to produce tangible results. Ultimately, people don’t mind paying for something if they know it works. We can run our clients a report on every quote the site has generated at any time, providing tangible results that our client feels comfortable with and wish to continue investing in.
What plans do you have for the launch of Freightabase?
Although the site went live on Monday 10th September, we still had a few finishing touches to make. We are launching the site in the UK and the US officially on Monday 1st October 2018.
Where do you want Freightabase to be in a year’s time?
Our initial push will naturally be the UK and the US markets. However, Freightabase is a global platform so I would like to roll it out globally.
How would you define your business culture?
Our culture is a fun environment, but we also get the job done. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our service. I believe a happy team look after clients better, so my staff morale is important to me. Most of my team share my vision and where the company is heading progress-wise, so they have plenty to be motivated about.
How do you get the best out of your team?
Getting the best out of my team does vary between sales and the back office. Ultimately, people need to feel valued and appreciated. Naturally, we offer commission for sales people, and project bonus for the developers, but you need to go beyond that. We arrange regular team nights out to improve team work and interdepartmental collaboration. Once a month, the team vote for that current month’s MVP (Most Valuable Player), which is a really nice way of the team recognising who has gone the extra mile that month. The winner, I take out for lunch and give a half day. It’s a win-win for me!
Overall, how has the production & making of Freightabase been?
As with any IT project, it has had its ups and downs. We have had holiday season and the odd bug to fix, as you would expect. Overall, it has been good, and we have landed a Phase 1 useable platform. The development team are already working hard on numerous functional improvements for Phase 2. Freightabase will never be finished. It will evolve over the coming years, as all .coms have!