Following the lead of tech innovators in the taxi industry, South Africa’s road freight sector is set for a similar shake-up. According the latest Logistics Barometer (published by Stellenbosch University), transport remains the most significant portion of logistics costs (57% of the total in 2014)* — an opportunity that is being seized upon by Cape Town-based start-up Linebooker. A spinoff from the innovation arm of CCS Logistics (part of the Oceana Group), the company has launched an online-bidding platform that connects bulk business transport customers and trucking companies to offer transparent pricing, as well as end-to-end delivery facilitation services.
“It’s time for South Africa’s road freight industry to join the 21st century,” says Naudé Rademan, MD of CCS Logistics and Linebooker. “Technology exposes the imbalanced relation between buyers and sellers, and with our online tools and a single point of service, customers can enjoy more control and insights over the transport of various goods and products.”
Operating nationally, Linebooker is challenging an industry plagued by opaque pricing and antiquated systems. With its online bidding platform, transport customers can quickly submit load requests online to alert multiple transporters that are given a two-hour window in which to provide the best bid, often competing up to the last second.
For transport customers, the offering features:
- A single creditor (a set fee is charged per transaction based on the value of a load)
- Vetted transporters and truck availability; and
- Facilitation of the entire delivery process.
- Average savings: 13% per load
Naude Rademan, a respected professional in South Africa’s logistics and road transport industry, is MD of CCS Logistics, which owns and operates some of the most advanced and largest cold storage facilities in southern Africa. With a handful of colleagues — possessing almost 50 years of experience in the sector between them — they developed Linebooker in mid-2016. Since then, the company has facilitated the delivery of more than 1 000 loads, saving customers an average of 13% per load. Linebooker currently has more than 60 transporters with over 1 300 trucks on its system — an amount increasing weekly — and serves some of the country’s most respected brands, including Lucky Star, Shoprite and Heinz.
Reformed transport brokers
Composed of several former transport brokers, the company emphasises that it is not — nor does it want to be — a transport brokerage. And while it does not own any transport trucks, Linebooker uses its technology, combined with the team’s knowledge of the industry (including some time as brokers), to ensure that trust and fairness are part of every transaction.
“Today, each transport request made online is like a mini RFP,” concludes Nick Hoffman, Linebooker Manager. “With our system we are improving the efficiency of the industry, connecting customers with more transporters (and vice versa), and ensuring transparent pricing. In some cases, customers are saving up to 18% per load.”
Levelling the playing field for transporters
For transporters — challenged with cash flow issues due to payment terms averaging 40 days in the industry — Linebooker offers:
- Access to more customers;
- A single debtor (with no broker mark-up);
- Payment within 15 days; and
- Improved ‘lane balancing’ (deliveries loaded in two directions).