Photo 101793765 Cargo © Kamonrutm

FreightMango, an online marketplace for ocean shipping, has teamed up with Vizion, a provider of ocean freight visibility, in a bid for improved tracking capabilities that will make it stand out from competing platforms.

The frequent disruptions of global supply chains are a constant headache for shippers, and they need to find out about problems as soon as they manifest themselves, or ideally sooner, so they can respond as fast as possible.

“Customers don’t really want visibility,” said FreightMango North America CEO Charley Dehoney.

“They are only interested in when their product is getting picked up, when it is due for delivery and any issues as soon as they become evident,” he explained.

A managed freight marketplace, on the other hand, needs more predictive capabilities, he added.

Vizion, which specialises in ocean freight, supports tracking for all the major global vessel operators and has pre-built integrations with multiple transport management systems, including CargoWise, Oracle, SAP and Infor Nexus.

Mr Dehoney described the managed marketplace concept as a provider between digital forwarders like Flexport on one side and hands-off platforms like Freightos on the other. It incorporates a service element to support customers and help them navigate through the available options, and offers logistics capacity alongside other elements like trade finance, cargo insurance and customs clearance.

FreightMango also vets the providers on its platform and enforces strict seller guidelines, Mr Dehoney said.

FreightMango was incubated in a UK-based private equity firm that saw an opening between digital forwarders and marketplaces. It initially took off in India in 2019 and the US arm went livein April.

“We’re starting to test-drill in Europe, in the UK,” added Mr Dehoney.

In the long run, its objective is to cover all modes “to give shippers and importers a full range of options”, but for starters the company concentrated on the less-than-containerload (LCL) segment, aggregating capacity from NVOCCs and forwarders, with a launch partnership with one of the top four global NVOs.

The focus has since expanded from LCL to full containerloads and the balance between the two is roughly 50:50, according to Mr Dehoney

The market reaction has been positive.

“NVOs are quite excited,” he said. “We represent a fast-growing sales channel for them. Using the platform gives them a crack at the US import business and it allows them to move closer to shippers without jeopardising their relationships with forwarders.”

Forwarders have been more reserved, however. He said: “We’ve had forwarders ask about US-based exports, or for traffic from Europe to Latin America – some of their underdeveloped tradelanes.”

The shipper base consists largely of small e-commerce sellers, but FreightMango has experienced an influx of large shippers, many of which have been hit with their allocations, according to Mr Dehoney. He is unfazed by the possibility that forwarders and shippers use the platform to connect to then ditch it to save costs.

“Leakage is something that happens in marketplaces,” he admitted, adding that this could be reduced by the range of connections and service of the platform. For one thing, he has seen “stickiness around our trade finance”. Things like helping small sellers with cash for transactions is difficult for many forwarders, he said.

“We have core launch partnerships in all the categories or services – from cargo insurance, trade finance and customs brokerage. We believe there’s a really interesting opportunity to bring marketplace competition to all of these services. We’re close to reaching partnerships with a couple more trade finance organisations that are either regionally or vertically focused, and then we aim to do the exact same thing with customs as well as on the cargo insurance side,” he said.

“While transport is sort of the bait, we believe the other ancillary services are going to be the glue.”

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