Miami startup SkySpace Cargo released the world’s first air cargo trading platform to digitize booking transactions. The company is linked to more than 100 airlines to create a neutral environment for freight forwarders to price, book and manage cargo shipments.
Price transparency has become the norm in most industries, but the logistics field has lagged behind, with most transactions taking days to complete. Phone calls, emails, faxes, time zones and language barriers create inefficiencies in an already complex negotiation process. Pricing is kept intentionally opaque and can be subject to last-minute changes.
Bringing the process online saves hours of labor and reduces inaccuracies in documentation that can cause further delays. Freight forwarders can complete a days-long process in minutes, then upload customs documentation directly to the platform. Cargo is counted, measured and photographed at origin to identify any damage concerns prior to shipment.
Unlike auction sites that broker contracts to other freight forwarders, or are even owned by large forwarders themselves, SkySpace partners with the airlines. The platform optimizes routes from 50,000 flights and provides instant quotes for comparison. Pricing is updated daily to reflect real market conditions, and, once booked, cannot be increased by the carrier.
Transparency and neutrality are particularly valuable to small and medium sized freight forwarders, who lack the bargaining power of the bigger players. They are particularly susceptible to price hikes after an overseas agent has taken possession of the cargo, lower service levels where shipment are re-routed or delayed, and higher instances of damage. “We are the only company in the world that offers a neutral trading environment,” says CEO Toby Raworth. “All SkySpace customers have access to tools equal to or better than existing market leaders.” In an industry long ruled by offline communication and long-standing deals between big players, Skyspace enables small and medium sized forwarders to compete.
Raworth takes competition seriously. He was a former state hockey player, 400 meter and long jump champion who trained with the England cricket team before joining a multi-national freight forwarder as a salesperson. While working his way up the ranks to director level, he experienced the inefficiencies in the cargo industry first hand. Raworth cofounded the company with COO Gabriela Gomez in 2016 to disrupt the sector with a neutral and transparent software solution.