Google searches for ocean freight and forwarding services have risen steadily since 2014 – by 8 and 14 per cent respectively every year. Simply being online is no longer sufficient, as customers now expect online reservations and a quote swiftly, according to a study entitled Travel and logistics: data drives the race for customers, published in May 2018 and conducted by McKinsey, Google and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg.
The German-Danish It’sMyCargo start-up is now targeting this market with an online booking system for logistics companies. The software enables freight forwarders to sell their services via their website and to customize the shop. Logins for individual users and immediately available prices simplify the sales process for the logistics provider and its customers. The start-ups’ clients include sea freight forwarders from Germany, Scandinavia, the Benelux countries and China. In an interview with Hamburg News, co-founder Robert Sieg outlines how this software solution can help small and medium-sized logistics companies.
Hamburg News: Who is behind ItsMyCargo?
Robert: We are four founders. Henry Perschk and I come from Germany, Clemen Jespersen and Martin Landgraf are Danish nationals. In our early 20s, we started along the same path and can now draw on academic experience in maritime business, business administration, computer science and innovation. We involved mentors at an early stage and that helped us to understand the rather conservative logistics industry and to develop practical, valuable software.
Hamburg News: How did you hit on the idea for ItsMyCargo?
Robert: During our courses of study, we studied the logistics industry intensely and compared the developments with those in other markets. Who would have thought that the sector that builds bridges between all the other economic sectors would be one of the last to go digital? We saw potential therein and in 2016, we decided to develop a so-called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the ItsMyCargo platform. This allowed us to discover whether logistics providers would really be interested in offering their services online. After our initial success, we received backing, for instance, from the Danish Innovation Fund. Now with eleven people, we are currently experiencing increasing growth and are working with a number of small and large freight forwarders in the European market.
Hamburg News: What do you hope to achieve with your start-up?
Robert: We have set ourselves the goal of helping small and medium-sized logistics companies to hold their ground in the digital age with their own modern technologies. Our mission is to bring the traditional industry online and to help companies face the competition – and to still be viable in 50 years.
Hamburg News: You are based in Speicherstadt. How important is the Hamburg location to you?
Robert: Hamburg is for strategic reasons our main location. The Hanseatic city is considered one of the world’s most important goods handling locations, and the timing is also very interesting. More and more start-up initiatives with a focus on logistics are here and you can learn from fellow founders. The state and investors are also showing keener interest. Many mid-sized German companies are more open to digitalisation and online shops. Apart from that, Hamburg is, of course, the most beautiful city in the world with an optimistic atmosphere. That is ideal for recruiting talent.
Hamburg News: What are you plans for the future?
Robert: We want to help modern logistics companies in particular to understand their customers and optimize their products and services and are planning more software solutions for this purpose. We also want to dedicate ourselves to a project on CO2 emissions in logistics. We want to calculate these values automatically in the value chain and make them available to each individual import and export company. Apart from transit time and price, customers should also be able to include environmental aspects in their decisions.
Hamburg News: Thanks for the interview, Robert!
Interview by Sarah Bischoff
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