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Tech Innovation Helping to Transform Logistics

Fernando Correa - Cargobot
CEO and Co-Founder


Adriana Alarcón By Adriana Alarcón | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 10/03/2023 - 12:00

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Q: What role have technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) played in making your digital solutions more efficient and resilient?

A: Innovation in the logistics industry involves building better relationships through advanced technology among various stakeholders, such as shippers, carriers and 3PLs. Technology can address the challenges posed by fragmented carriers and diverse, multicultural teams, which can complicate the adoption of new technologies. Balancing future-focused innovation with present needs is crucial for functionality. Over the past seven years, we have witnessed a revolution in logistics technology, particularly in areas like AI, tracking systems, real-time data interpretation and predictive analytics. We have also worked on improving efficiency by optimizing shipment posting, building carrier networks and forging partnerships. 

Fragmentation is challenging but we deal with fragmented teams and technologies everyday. Ultimately, the key is centralizing all systems on a platform that connects via various API integrations. In today's global market, we connect countries through different inland freight services, adding a new layer to the logistics landscape.

Q: What strategies have you implemented to grow adoption and digitization among small carriers and owner-operators?  

A: The US fleet industry primarily consists of small companies with about 10 or fewer trucks, which account for about 96% of the market. Many owner-operators also work with these small fleets. Thus, introducing carrier-side technology, such as a digital portal for accessing shipments, might be challenging initially. However, carriers are tech-savvy because they spend a great deal of time in and outside their trucks, using various social media platforms and carrier apps. Connecting with larger fleet companies is more complex, as dispatchers for big fleets limit driver interaction due to the ongoing truck driver shortage. 

The US has over 4 million miles of inland freight routes but the industry is highly competitive, focusing on rates and capacity. Cargobot has successfully supported carriers of all sizes by ensuring on-time payments and providing excellent service during freight operations. Standardizing the fragmented industry remains a challenge despite conversations with industry veterans.

Q: How do your digital solutions address unpredictable phenomena, such as currency fluctuations, strikes and weather conditions?

A: Unexpected events, like the pandemic, impact capacity. For example, the initial pandemic disruptions in California led many container owners to halt operations in Los Angeles, putting carriers in a tough spot as they struggled to secure outbound shipments from the US state. Monitoring indicators and data are essential for maintaining control and predicting future trends. Analyzing historical data through algorithms and creating predictive models helps businesses make informed decisions. 

Q: What benefits can shippers expect from Cargobot Pool's digital consolidation system in  terms of cost savings, delivery times and damage reduction? 

A: We specialize in moving refrigerated shipments. Initially, we did not handle less-than-load (LTL) refrigerated shipments but recognizing the need for innovation and customer commitments, we expanded our services. LTL shipments differ significantly from full truckloads.

This service led us to create a virtual warehouse, in which algorithms match customers with similar shipment directions, ensuring temperature compatibility and adherence to regulations. Cargobot Pool aims to consolidate refrigerator and dry van shipments, optimizing capacity, reducing claims, ensuring timely deliveries and sharing costs. This benefits shippers immensely.

Q: How does your platform address the unique challenges and requirements involved in the transportation of fresh and frozen foods and other commodities? 

A: We analyze the commodity and rate sensitivity and strategy for each type of shipment, such as flatbed, oversized or cross-border. Technology reflects workflow optimization and relies on expertise and knowledge to enhance efficiency. Our expertise and knowledge allow us to match the right network with shipper needs.

Q: What strategies has Cargobot adopted to cater to evolving customer needs, given the changing dynamics of nearshoring and its impact on demand?

A: Cargobot's strategy revolves around two key components: shippers and carriers, both integral to our success. Carriers are considered partners, while shippers come in varying sizes, from large corporations to those relying on the spot market. Understanding their specific KPIs is crucial for aligning expectations.

Our primary goal is simplicity within this complex industry, which we achieve by providing technology with the right functionalities. We focus on creating innovative solutions that are user-friendly and provide accurate data. Given the industry's weekly fluctuations, ensuring data accuracy is essential and we carefully choose reliable partners for data provision.

Q: What opportunities and advantages does Cargobot’s SaaS offer to international freight forwarders looking to create efficient marketplaces for local carriers and shippers?

A: Our Cargo SaaS is the result of our experience in running a business, learning from decisions and mistakes and analyzing every aspect of logistics. Our experience allowed us to create a robust platform and share our expertise globally, especially in North America. We facilitate door-to-door transactions, export our technology and empower freight leaders to embrace digital solutions for shippers and carriers in their regions.

Q: How do you envision Cargobot's role in the evolving landscape of international digital freight, especially in Mexico?

A: We have expanded our technology to Peru and the EU, complementing our operations in Mexico, the US and Canada. Our strategy includes an AI-powered chatbot for carriers and an innovative planning tool for shippers. This latter tool is tailored specifically for Mexico, enabling seamless freight movement to and from the US while maintaining strong relationships. It will also be available for the rest of the markets.

Mexico is a promising market with relatively low competition, especially for cross-border transactions. Our success stems from our deep understanding of cultural nuances and the need for localized solutions.

Photo by:   Cargobot

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