BY: IRMA VENTER
Linebooker wants to do for the truck transport industry what Uber’s introduction did within the metered taxi industry – disrupt the traditional business model, cut costs and improve competitiveness and convenience.
A spinoff from the innovation arm of CCS Logistics (part of the Oceana Group), Linebooker has launched an online-bidding platform that allows customers to seek the least expensive truck transport for their goods.
“Linebooker was born from our discomfort with the transport broker business model,” says CCS Logistics MD Naudé Rademan. “We found the pricing model rather murky.”
Transport brokers typically charge a brokerage fee to ‘marry’ a transporter and a company in need of transport. Companies seek a transporter as they either do not own a truck fleet, or because they need to subcontract other transporters to assist them with their operations.
Linebooker is an online platform, explains Linebooker supply chain manager Nick Hoffman, where customers log on, stating detail such as the pallet count, pallet height, loading point, delivery point and temperature range of the goods to be transported.
Transport companies then have a two-hour window to bid on the load, with bids to move in R200 increments.
The customer selects a winning bid after the two-hour period, only then learning the identity of the company that will provide the service.
“This very open, transparent system means smaller transporters can easily compete with the big guys,” says Hoffman.
Linebooker charges a booking fee of no more than R450, dependent on the value of the successful bid.
“We execute the load,” notes Hoffman. “We take full accountability for the delivery of the goods. We track the truck and the delivery of the load. We pay the transporter within 15 days, while we will give the customer 30 days to pay us.”
A Linebooker phone app allows the driver responsible for the delivery to note when he is loading the vehicle, when he has arrived at his destination, and to upload proof of delivery.
The customer and Linebooker can view the driver’s progress in real time.
The system currently includes 40 transport companies. Load capacity starts at 12 t.
“We vet these transport companies and their trucks through face-to-face visits,” says Hoffman. “We inspect the vehicle and make sure the correct insurance is in place.”
Rademan says Linebooker delivers several benefits to the industry, such as improved efficiency, increased competition, better visibility of the logistics chain, a single creditor, the opportunity to compare rates, reduced paperwork, as well as a 13% saving in transport costs to the customer, on average.
Linebooker also provides the opportunity of lane balancing, adds Hoffman.
“When a truck delivers goods from Johannesburg to Cape Town, that truck does not have to come back empty, which costs around R8 000 in fuel alone. Through Linebooker that truck can find a load to carry back to Gauteng.”
Rademan says Linebooker will carry its 1 000th load this week, of which 300 were executed in the last month.
“We have experienced exponential growth in the last two months. We aim for 2 000 loads a month by July.”
EDITED BY: CREAMER MEDIA REPORTER