Green Bar

Linebooker, the Uber-like transport platform of South Africa

Linebooker is die Uber vir logistiek en vervoerbedryf

Uber Freight made an international acquisition for $2.25B this month. Internationally, the online transport technology industry has grown at the same rate as the fintech space, and the digital freight platform industry is in a well-progressed state in the north Americas, Europe and some Asian countries.

From a South African perspective, the logistics industry and particularly the road transport sector is a significant part of the economy, with an estimated annual spend of R275 billion (logistics sector estimated at R460 billion).
Who is Linebooker and, more importantly, what is happening on our home soil?
A transport technology platform business provides the right solution, there is endless scope to grow the business, and numerous efficiency gains can be created for the industry for years to come. Linebooker is having a significant impact on the South African transport economy and has wide scope to grow.

Imagine creating the largest network of quality transporters in a country where all transport operators use one easy and efficient technology platform. Couple that with customers who think progressively, and who want to simplify their transport operations, reduce their costs, and avoid the significant risks of not being able to move their goods at critical times.  It is this vision that convinced investors like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) to invest in the US Digital freight market.
On the home front, Linebooker is South African from source code to process navigation. Supported by cutting-edge cloud-based tech, the no-nonsense simplicity of Linebooker has made the platform the largest transport platform solution in South Africa.

In a short time (four years) Linebooker has signed up some of the largest retailers, mega-farmers, large local and international manufacturing concerns, mid-size companies and smaller entrepreneurs. This has lowered logistics costs for clients, streamlined load allocation to providers, increased operational execution, and allowed complete transparency, with live visibility of all load statuses and automated reporting anytime. Implementation time also spans between 30 minutes for immediate truck availability through open bidding and one week for a full business-specific transport technology solution.

Linebooker Transport Platform, Digital Freight Matching, Uber for Trucking, Trucking Amazon – call it what you will, it is the future of trucking.

In 2017, Linebooker set out to solve some long-standing problems in the industry and to create a new solution for customers and transport companies alike:

1. Difficulty engaging or coordinating with many quality transport companies to ensure consistent supply of vehicles throughout the year
-Linebooker technology allows customers to use an unlimited number of transporters as load planning, allocation, tracking, proof of delivery and payment are all automated on the platform.
-Linebooker also instantly connects customers with an additional 445 pre-vetted transport companies, and 14890 trucks for a full tender process, a fixed lane rate, or an adhoc once-off rate via bidding.

2. Congested periods and reduction of risk
-Customers take on significant business supply chain risks as they do not have immediate access to a larger fleet of trucks at times when their volumes, routes or truck types change. A business continuity plan in most cases does not exist.
-Linebooker is an automatic business continuity plan with access to 445 pre-vetted and approved transport companies.  This means access to 14890 trucks via one vendor.

3. Sales managers previously had no live access to data on transport movements or costs, making it very difficult to manage customer service.
-Transport is in the top three costs for businesses, but there has been to date little oversight of costs due to the lack of proactive data visibility.
-The Linebooker platform provides live visibility and data dashboards for sales managers to drive better decision making, improving customer service and reducing costs.

4. Daily booking of trucks and following up on load progress is a manual process and a waste of time
(numerous phone calls, WhatsApps, spreadsheet updates, emails). This time could be better spent on core functions, like managing factories or warehouses and customer service.
-All load bookings with transporters and all load progress updates happen live on the platform for all users to see in real-time (monitored by Linebooker’s operations team).
-Operators only have to deal with anomalies on average 5% of the time; historically they spent 100% of their valuable time dealing with booking trucks and following up on load progress.

5. There are no pricing standards in the industry to guide customers and transport companies on what relevant market lane rates on certain routes and seasons should be.
-This has caused some customers overpaying with regards to market rates, and some new transport companies having vehicles stand idle due to building their business models on inaccurate pricing levels.
-The Linebooker platform acts as a self-regulating marketplace and delivers lane rate pricing that is driven by market dynamics and can thus be a true indication to customers and transporters of lane rate levels.

6. Inefficient and lengthy tender processes with a limited number of service providers.
The Linebooker tender platform allows you to tap into our vast network of transporters and achieve the most competitive contracted rates with the best transport operators on selected routes.

 7. Transport operators spend their workdays fielding calls from customers –
for booking details and route updates – instead of their core focus being running their fleet of trucks and managing drivers efficiently and safely. 
-Like customers, transport controllers on Linebooker only deal with customer anomalies and can spend 95% of their time managing their fleet and drivers efficiently.
-They now have one platform/channel to communicate with most customers.

8. For transport companies, cash flow is one of the biggest business risks
-As customer payments are regularly delayed, and companies do not necessarily have the customer leverage to resolve the payment delay and/or the cash flow to continue operations until payment is made.
-Linebooker takes on this risk on behalf of transport companies, as Linebooker guarantees payment and handles payment delays from customers.
-Transporters can also choose to fill up with Diesel at a best in market-rate through Linebooker Diesel assist using their Linebooker payment balance, thereby increasing transporters’ leverage to take on more loads.

Originally published on Daily Maverick and News 24.