Digital interchange platforms can cut some 3% from operational costs for the logistics sector and save one in three empty container movements.

Empty container movements continue to account for 8% of shipping lines’ operating costs – $15bn-$20bn annually – and generate unnecessary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Marketing manager of interchange platform xChange Florian Frese said: “One in three empty container movements are avoidable and xChange provides both shipping lines and their customers a platform to utilise these empties.

“By doing this, both parties can save 3% on operational costs, generate revenues through the supply of containers and cut unnecessary GHGs.”

Launched in 2016, xChange has seen a surge in new users over the past 12 months, its customer base jumping from 111 to more than 250 this year. Mr Frese described the company as “completely neutral”, having no industry stakeholders among its investor base.

“This is vital for our business,” he said. “We do not have to concern ourselves with giving data away to our opposition or competing in that sense. And this is why we can create trust among the companies that use us.”

The company’s customer base is comprised predominantly of NVOCCs – some 60-70% – with the remainder made up of container lines and container traders.

Alongside the increase in its customer base, xChange has added a raft of new features, including access to reefer containers. But the biggest addition came last week with the introduction of its smart booking platform.

“This allows both supply or booking of containers to be available within two clicks, requiring terms to be sent, and agreed upon,” Mr Frese said. “Not only this but we have packaged this with multiple add-ons, including in-app Twitter and WhatsApp-style services for ease of updates and communication.

“Perhaps the most important function though is the ‘smart learning’ AI tool that learns what users want and helps make booking an easier process, with recommended options.”

Other features include tracking tools and payment handling, which Mr Frese said saves users when it comes to conducting transactions in multiple currencies.

For a carrier, he estimates, the saving can be some $200 per movement, and believes it offers a platform for building new relationships.

“If someone is looking for equipment outside their usual market, xChange can connect them with new partners, building relationships with new businesses and in new regions,” he said.

“As far as we can tell, we really have no competition offering a comparable service. There are some that offer repositioning services and equipment opportunities but not the global transparency and trust – and for us, trust is our USP.”