Everyone likes to talk about life’s chapters. And everyone hates spoiler alerts.
Spoiler alert – this post is about life chapters, but it is specifically about Freightos Group acquiring 7LFreight and bringing digital air cargo to North American freight forwarders.
But back to those chapters…
Every New Year’s, we look back and reflect on the year that was and the year to come. We all happily write out our New Year’s resolutions, and their corporate equivalent, the OKR. At this time of year, everyone is an author.
And every author knows that the tricky bit is in the transitions.
I started WebCargo with Enric Alventosa in 2008, back when Messi first received the no. 10 shirt. Our vision was to provide seamless data for logistics providers. We developed this dream in an age of 12mb DSL connections (which replaced that modem sound you definitely remember if you are above a certain age).
Back then, airline cargo rates were shared in PDF files or excel spreadsheets. For a forwarder to quote a customer, they’d need to manually search stacks of data and then cobble together a document of some sort with the right pricing.
The average shipment had its data manually re-entered 85 times over its lifetime. The inevitable errors cost millions of dollars per year. And those millions ultimately show up in the prices we pay at the market.
So chapter one of our journey became digitizing air cargo rates for freight forwarders.
Forwarders sent us all of their PDFs and spreadsheets, and we digitized them for organization-wide instant search. This streamlined how pricing and sales teams interacted with the underlying data that powered their business – and it let them do their jobs much faster and more efficiently as a result. That speed and efficiency often was the difference between being the first to quote, and win, a customer…and a “thanks, we went with someone else already.”
Soon after, we began writing chapter two , when we started to digitize the customer quoting process. Using those same digitized air cargo rates, our customers could now send company-branded digital quotes to their customers for instant, embedded, approval/rejection.
These digital quotes provided clarity and convenience which again, allowed forwarders a critical first-to-quote advantage.
After joining Freightos in 2016 – our chapter three – we expanded into connecting forwarders directly with airlines so that forwarders could directly book actual air cargo capacity in real-time.
We started slowly – Lufthansa Cargo, Air France-KLM Cargo, and IAG Cargo were the pioneers – but in just a few years, we’ve reached the next chapter, connecting tens of thousands of users in hundreds of countries to over 30 airlines including Qatar Cargo, Turkish Cargo, and Etihad Cargo, who together represent more than 30% of global air cargo capacity.
Those are a lot of chapters in what has felt like such little time.
I am lucky to work with amazing people at Freightos Group like Zvi Schreiber and Ian Arroyo, and the reason I am so privileged is that these master story writers all nailed every transition we’ve successfully navigated in our growing journey.
And now, I am privileged to write another chapter in the WebCargo story, with some more amazing people. Freightos Group is acquiring 7LFreight, and with it, even better pricing, quoting, and booking capabilities for US-based freight forwarders. I am looking forward to working with Brennan O’Dowd and everyone on his team.
7LFreight provides more rates for our rate management system customers, especially key connections with trucking providers in the US. We’re excited to bring digital air cargo to the United States, both to 7LFreight’s customers – immediately! – and to every other forwarder in the country. We’re adding airlines faster than ever, and the world’s largest air cargo booking platform is quickly expanding.
I am excited for 2022. The year is only beginning, and we have a lot planned – this chapter is going to be incredible to write.