Faster, more transparent and cleaner freight transport thanks to a Dutch company from Rotterdam
- Founders: –
- Founded: 2017
- Employees: 20
- Amount raised: 2 million euros from a funding round
- Ultimate Goal: Laughs: “All transport via Uturn, via waterways, roads and railways.”
Did you know that many carriers in the logistics industry still rely on “old-fashioned” paperwork? Or that hundreds of empty trucks are circulating in and between European ports every day? UTURN thought it could be done better. This scaling helps to make freight transport more efficient, transparent and sustainable. Patrick Bonemeijer from the Rotterdam-based logistics hub explains how they do it.
What problem are you solving?
“Carriers and shippers alike still often rely on ‘old-fashioned’ ways of working. Lots of emails, calls and even faxes are still going. We digitize this process through our platform. We also connect customers and carriers. This may involve occasional trips, but also regular transport. Our system also ensures that shippers are notified of the status of their cargo more quickly. There is no need to email or call, as drivers pass this information through our app. Our system eases the burden on shippers and carriers. »
“Through our platform, we make it easy for shippers and carriers in Europe to find each other and work together. In addition to making these type of connections, UTURN takes care of the entire process for the sender, from the initial order to payment.
How to make freight transport more sustainable?
“Now you see that some of the trucks that drop off a container in a European port continue with an empty load until their next order. However, there are also containers that need to be transported between these locations. At the moment, other carriers are making detours to do this, while there are empty trucks going in this direction. Why can’t a driver who has to take this route anyway take one of these containers? Via our platform, carriers can offer this type of capacity. Because Uturn knows who leads where with a full container, but also with an empty container, we can schedule shippers effectively and efficiently. This not only means fewer empty trucks, but also fewer trips. This is how we reduce CO2 emissions in the logistics sector.
What makes you different from other platforms?
“Before a carrier can start accepting rides through us, they go through a thorough screening and we always contact them personally. Do they have all the necessary permits? What about insurance? That sort of thing. Based on this, we decide whether a carrier will be accepted on our platform. They then receive a performance rating based on the trips they have taken. This is how we can ensure that we only work with good carriers. What if their rating drops? Then we discuss it again with the carriers and develop an improvement plan.
“Most platforms are digital freight forwarders and that’s not who we are. We have an open platform where supply and demand come together. Thanks to intelligent digitization, we can work structurally much more efficiently and at much lower costs. »
At the beginning of 2020, you landed an investment of 2 million euros, are you really still a start-up?
“No, we are certainly not that anymore. We have grown a lot lately. Even before corona, we were already experiencing substantial growth. But the pandemic has made digitization all the more important. With 2,200 affiliate carriers and 700 shippers transporting their goods through our platform, we have since become a scale-up.
How is the market evolving?
“The logistics market is extremely tough, just look at the Suez Canal, closed ports in China, container ships stranded on land, price hikes – and I could go on and on. We are , of course, also affected by these market forces. It is in the context of these developments that the call for transparency, simplification and cooperation of and between these different processes becomes ever louder and more desirable.
What are you most proud of?
At the beginning, the parties saw us mainly as an ad hoc solution, that is to say for the most flexible trips. But that is changing rapidly. More and more shippers are opting for more and regular journeys via our platform. We are a serious partner for container transport. In just five years, we have become a structuring solution for 700 shippers and 2,200 carriers throughout Europe.
“For some time in the Netherlands we have implemented an automatic basic port integration for Dutch ports. Recently, we have also integrated it into our platform for Belgian ports (secure container release). Normally a container is checked in at a port and then a carrier must notify that they are coming to collect the container. In the meantime, customs must still check everything and the documents must be in order. This is normally done via email and often causes frustration with customers as it doesn’t always go smoothly. We have now automated this process so that it is more efficient for all parties and customers can automatically see the status of their freight. We also want to extend this to other countries.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
“We are also looking at other forms of transport, such as rail and inland barges. Thus, through our platform, customers can expect the most efficient means of transport at a good price. We are also working on new forms to be able to relieve our customers even more. We don’t just want to be a corresponding platformbut also a transport management system.
Main photo: (c) Pixabay