MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

This startup aims to change our perception of shipping services

FreightKart wants to disrupt the shipping services industry.

Paper trails and rubber stamps, these are just some of the traditional requisites of shipments that FreightKart wants to do away with. As a startup at the core of shipping and logistics solutions, the group aims to change customers' perceptions about dealing with shipping services.

"We live in an extremely fast-paced world, where everything is expected to be intuitive and real-time, otherwise you lose your audience," says Abbas Vakharia, CEO & Founder, FreightKart. "Currently, shipping services are perceived to be slow, unattractive and confusing. FreightKart wants to change all that and become the go-to shipping solutions provider - a few clicks and you have all the answers."

FreightKart is the only company which has a real time, end-to-end portal which allows a customer to pose a query, compare price points and services, make a booking and do required payments online. "Essentially, we have the complete customer journey — awareness & discovery, interest, intent and then purchase all laid out on the portal as one seamless transaction," he says. "This is a huge disruption in an industry where paper trails and rubber stamps are used even today."

The idea for FreightKart, shares Vakharia, took shape out of personal experience. "Over time, we had both experienced difficulties in our own dealings with shipping companies and their agents around the world," he says. Long waiting periods — for a mere response to a query or for negotiations — were turning out to be a major issue as business was being lost as a result. In the shipping industry, supply always outstrips demand, Vakharia notes, and if a service provider takes too long to respond, the client is just going to find someone else to meet his demands. "Moreover, even after the initial query is responded to, more often than not, the client requests more information or wishes to negotiate the rates," he says. "This too results in lost time. Thus, we felt that there was a pressing and unmet need for promptness in shipping processes."

Freightkart intends to address three very important issues: Convenience, short response times and competitive prices, along with other features such as online documentation, cargo insurance and cargo tracking. All these services will be delivered to the customer via a feature rich dashboard which the customer can access on any mobile device, shares Vakharia.

The development of the complete product had been bootstrapped initially. Six months ago, FreightKart was chosen as one of the eight teams to represent muru-D Singapore's second cohort. muru-D is the startup accelerator backed by telecommunications and media company Telstra. "That brought in much needed funding, giving us a decent runway and allowing us time to hit the market with an end-to-end, fully transaction-able product. Currently, we are looking for strategic investors with whom we can grow to the next level," shares Vakharia.


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